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They could be the Richard Bransons and Duncan Bannatynes of tomorrow. And earlier this month they were honoured for their entrepreneurial spirit as SETsquared held its annual Student Enterprise Awards at St Mary’s Stadium, Southampton on 4th June.
Fifteen up and coming student and graduate companies, from across SETsquared’s five partner universities, were recognised for their innovation and business excellence, under three different categories Best Student Enterprise, Best Graduate Enterprise and Best Game Changing Enterprise.
There were also two additional prizes, the People’s Choice Award 2015 for which there was a live vote on the night and the Grant Thornton Entrepreneurial Excellence Award.
Metix Ltd, started by recent graduates from the University of Southampton picked up the coveted People’s Choice Award, which came with a £500 cash prize. The company’s marketing director, Peter Street, said: “It’s a huge honour to be voted the People’s Choice out of all of the companies that were pitching. Choosing entrepreneurship as a career path may seem daunting to some university students but there is so much support out there from organisations such as SETsquared, the University of Southampton and Fish on Toast, the university’s entrepreneurial society. Their advice and mentoring has helped us get our business off the ground and I’d urge any young person with a good business idea to take the leap and go for it.”
TrueInvivo, which has developed an innovative method of measuring radiation dosage and spread in cancer patients undergoing radiotherapy, scooped the Grant Thornton Entrepreneurial Excellence Award.
The prize is an all-expenses-paid trip to the US, to gain insight into developing a business for the US market.
Shakardokht, who is studying a PHD in medical physics at the University of Surrey, said: “I can’t put into words how happy and grateful I am to have won this prize. The American market was always in my long-term plan but I could never have afforded to go there at this early stage. Now it means I can explore the US market much quicker and have the chance to meet one of the biggest companies I’ve wanted to speak to about the TrueInvivo technology.”
The evening also saw inspirational talks from local business leaders. Max Toti, managing director and chief technology officer of Captec Ltd, gave guests his advice on how to become a successful entrepreneur. An alumni of the University of Southampton, he is a visiting lecturer for UK technology universities on innovation, entrepreneurship and wealth creation.
Norman Armstrong, partner at Grant Thornton, also spoke at the event and urged the young entrepreneurs to use their businesses to make a difference to society. He said: “We are seeing a major shift in the way companies of all sizes are doing business and seeking to become more socially-responsible. There were some incredible examples of social enterprises on show tonight and I have no doubt that these students and graduates have the potential to create technologies, services and products that will change the world.”
Simon Bond, Innovation Director, SETsquared, said: “There is so much entrepreneurial talent at the SETsquared universities and we are immensely proud of all our students and graduates who pitched at the event. They have some fantastic business ideas with the potential to develop into even bigger companies that generate wealth and jobs for their local economies.”
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