Takeaway coffee cup sleeves and an online local business directory for students were just two of the ideas tested in a ‘Dragon’s Den’ style competition at the University of Warwick.
Student entrepreneurs submitted their ideas to the University’s annual ‘Be Your Own Boss’ competition, run by the Warwick Entrepreneurs Society.
This year’s event was sponsored by Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Accenture and Warwick Business School Enterprise Hub, and a £2,000 prize was up for grabs plus business support. Each team of students had to pitch their business ideas in front of 200 students and a panel of experienced judges.
In the early stage business stream category, students Jean Malissard and Simon Cohen, along with graduate Jonathan Bevan, triumphed with their uni4ya.com site. This site serves as an intermediary between students and local businesses via an online interactive directory of suppliers, discounts and relevant information.
Jean Malissard is also on the team behind creativia.co.uk, with friends Dobromira Boyadjieva and Vladimir Tsekov, who took home the runner-up prize for their advertising agency’s take-away coffee cup sleeves featuring advertisements for use at conferences, exhibitions and event venues. Completing the category were mathematics student Jonathan Ross who developed tugenda.com, an aggregator of search boxes on the web, and Verity Scott and Jennytha Raj for their network and showcase of student art at turntothebside.com.
In the business ideas category, Alex Chamberlein took home the main prize with an idea to support the charity services sector. Christie Sarri’s alternative luggage system secured both runner-up and People’s Choice prize with an online raffle and alternative sports betting system completing the line-up.
The Be Your Own Boss co-ordinators Michael Stones and Dominic Phillips were impressed with the standard of ideas. Dominic said: “Once again we had some great ideas coming forward this year. The competition’s success over the past few years is a testament to Warwick’s entrepreneurial spirit.”
The competition is supported by the Warwick Business School Enterprise Hub. The Hub’s director Roger Mumby-Croft said: “If we are to produce graduates with the skills needed to prosper in the fast changing economy that is today’s business environment, enterprise skills are essential for all and those with the desire to create their own ventures need to be nurtured as part of the university experience.”
Societies like Warwick Entrepreneurs are proving successful with new student start-ups being set-up, including e-resistible.co.uk, theuniexpress.com, needyseed.com and myonepage.com.
Student enterprise officer of the Hub, and the National Consortium of University Entrepreneurs (NACUE) Midlands Co-Chair Kostas Mavroulakis said: “The growing levels of participation in the activities of these societies are encapsulating what enterprising students in NACUE are all about, passion, determination and innovation”.
About Warwick Entrepreneurs
Warwick Entrepreneurs is a student society at the University of Warwick which aims to provide a platform to inspire and develop the future generation of entrepreneurs at Warwick. The society is sponsored by Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Accenture while also supported by the Warwick Students Union, Warwick Business School Enterprise Hub and the National Consortium of University Entrepreneurs (NACUE). In November 2009, the society ran Global Entrepreneurship Week at Warwick and The Oripprentice competition with Oriflame UK.