UWE's £19,000 competition plans to boost new businesses

Issue date: 27 October 2005

UWE’s £19,500 competition plans to boost new businesses

A £19,500 boost to new businesses in the West is being offered by the University of the West of England in its latest business plan competition.

Students and staff who plan for success can enter this year’s competition which has just been launched. There are three top prizes – an open prize, plus two special prizes: one for the best student entry and one for the brightest idea for a social enterprise.

The open prize winners will receive prizes worth £9,500; the best student-led entry will receive prizes valued at £4,500 and the social enterprise award is valued at £5,500.

Sponsors of the competition, now in its fifth year, include solicitors Osborne Clarke, Haseltine Lake patent attorneys, Bristol City Council, Business West, Royal Bank of Scotland and UWE itself. Entries must be submitted by midday on 28 November and Round One winners will be announced on 15 December. The final will be held in May 2006. All entrants will benefit from professional appraisal of their ideas, mentoring and a series of workshops enabling them to produce a marketable business plan.

Last year’s winners invented a lifesaving device called AlarmGas that detects flammable gases using sensor technology. Professor Norman Ratcliffe of the winning team said:

“Winning the open award in the competition meant that we could take this technology further and look at other potential benefits and uses. As well as primary use, for example on boats and in caravans, we explore the detection of arson, and of traces of pesticides or mildew in food crops.”

The competition is organised by UWE’s Centre for Research, Innovation and Graduate Studies. Enterprise Manager Nick Markovits said:
“The competition is going from strength to strength and we are delighted that the social enterprise prize, won last year by ARIES, an emergency response scheme, is on offer again for the second year running.”

Editor’s notes
1. The prizes
• The £9,500 open prize is made up of £7,000 cash from the competition sponsors and a one-year rent free seat in UWE's Business Incubator 'Innovate'.
• The £4,500 student-led prize is made up of £2,000 cash and a one-year rent-free seat in UWE's Business Incubator 'Innovate'.
• The £5,500Social Enterprise Prize is made up of £3,000 cash and a one-year rent-free seat in UWE's Business Incubator 'Innovate'.

2. The competition timetable is as follows:
• October 2005 – Competition launch
• 28 November – Round One entries closes
• 15 December – Round One winners announced
• May 2006 – Business Plan Competition final

3. For further information, visit www.uwe.ac.uk/business/comp/, email enterprise@uwe.ac.uk or call Nick Markovits on 0117 32 8 2808

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