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SETsquared has announced the winners of its inaugural showcase of student entrepreneurship awards on June 7th held with guests from the business, investor and entrepreneur community.
The showcase event in Bath brought together students from across the SETsquared partnership to recognise some of the best up and coming entrepreneurial talent in Southern England. The winners were chosen from the 90,000 students at the five SETsquared member universities of Bath, Bristol, Exeter, Southampton and Surrey.
Nominations ranged from providing soup to the homeless to wave generated electricity, and from mobile apps to sex education lessons.
Best Student Start-up and overall winner was won by Guitar Lesson Lounge (University of Surrey) that provides creative and high quality video online guitar lessons with passionate teachers. Exeter’s UniSportOnline were also highly commended in this category.
Gulliaume Devinat of Guitar Lesson Lounge said: “The level of support from the University was amazing and I couldn’t have achieved this without them. I used to try to do everything with the business but now I am the leader and the marketer, I have really good people to help me.”
Having already made sales, Thoughtified Ltd (University of Surrey) was awarded Best Graduate Start-up for its web based application ManagePlaces which manages teams and project tasks remotely and in different locations.
Commenting on their award, Georgios Michalakidis said: “It was great to win but what we have achieved is mostly through hard work and using our own connections. We feel very confident about the future but wouldn’t be here without the support of the University.”
The Best Social Enterprise award went to Rightlight (University of Southampton) which provides solar powered lamps via micro lending and self-funding schemes in developing countries to bring families out of poverty and improve health.
Michael Austen, accepted the award and said: “We have had some good advice from the University and now hope to grow this project with local entrepreneurs. This experience has taught me that it is not too hard to do your own thing, you just have to have the courage to keep going.”
The Best Student Enterprise Experience category was won by – SIFE (students in free enterprise) Southampton a society of 100 student volunteers who run social projects impacting local young people and poor rural families in developing countries. They will represent the UK in the SIFE world later this year. Accepting the award on behalf of SIFE, Chris Coates said: “It’s so good to be recognised for this because everyone has put in so much work and it’s something we do alongside our degrees.”
The Business Mentor of the Year went to Bath’s Gavin Eddy who since 2006 has given his feedback to more than 750 ideas as well as continuously encouraging and supporting student enterprise events. Commenting on his award, Gavin said: “I became involved because I have a genuine love of start-up businesses. When I was at university, it wasn’t a career route but it’s great that students today have the opportunity to be an entrepreneur as a career option.”
In addition, each University nominated their student enterprise champion to an individual who had contributed to student entrepreneurial activities at their instituation. The champions were: Andrew Seed (University of Bath), James Carberry (University of Bristol), Delie Kastner (University of Exeter), James Pursey (University of Southampton) and Cameron Wilson (University of Surrey).
“The SETsquared Universities have come together to give students extra options for their future and these awards recognise that the spirit of entrepreneurship is thriving in our Universities,” said Keith Robson, Chairman of the SETsquared management group.
“Starting your own company is not just a great experience for the students, it is good for the economy too. It was great to see some of our talented young entrepreneurs get recognised for their achievements” he said.
Guillaume Devinat was selected as the overall winner and was presented with a year’s complimentary membership of the Entrepreneurs Circle by sponsor Jerry Walsingham.
As well as being able to meet with young entrepreneurs from other universities, the showcase provided an opportunity for students to bring their entrepreneurial ideas to a wider business audience including investors and business mentors.
A full list of entries and video presentations can be found here:http://www.setsquared.co.uk/Student+Enterprise/Student+Showcase
Release date: 9th June 2011
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