Our students did amazing work in 2018/19, thanks to the support of Santander Universities. Here, we showcase and celebrate some of that work - and we look forward to great things in 2019/20!
Last year, we had record levels of interest in the Student Enterprise Fund, which gives students the chance to win up to £1000 to develop their business idea or social enterprise.
Out of 73 applications, 29 were awarded funding.
Below (in alphabetical order) are just a few of them, with links and testimonials from the students. But first:
A big thank you to our colleagues...
We would not be able to run the Student Enterprise Fund programme without the help of our generous colleagues who serve as judges at the pitching panels and provide ongoing support to the student teams, whether they succeed in winning funds or not.
As well as thanking Fay Watkin from Santander Universities, we would also like to express our appreciation for the following staff here at Warwick who have given their time to this competition in 2018/19:
Wendy Coy, Rachel Davis, David Grindrod, Richard Groves, James Lapworth, Janette Pallas, Shum Prakash, Dirk Schäfer, Brendan Spillane, Luke Taylor, and Joanne Wale.
AGORA (Alex Balderstone)
‘AGORA is a one stop-shop for pre-seed ventures. With AGORA you’ll be able to launch your start-up from start-to-finish, helping you to get investment-ready. Our pre-seed financing platform can then help you connect with leading micro-VCs, angels and other pre-seed investors. Visit our website to learn more!
The Student Enterprise Fund proved to be hugely supportive when AGORA was just starting. Access to early-stage funds was a must that wouldn’t have been achievable without the support of Warwick and Santander. Beyond this, the network and hands-on support that Warwick and the Enterprise Team have been able to bring have been paramount to helping with later-stage product building, partnerships and fund-raising.'
Artcoholic (Elena Molleker, Stanislav Molleker)
‘Artcoholic is a co-drawing hub dedicated to the idea of pictorial art and fully equipped for this purpose.
With support from Warwick we were able to do thorough market research. For us, it is also vitally important to have the sense of community provided by Warwick Enterprise with the possibility to share our experience and to be inspired by other projects.’
BREWED (Ben Norman)
‘BREWED provides organic tea in the form of a natural concentrate which is simply added to hot water. The tea tastes identical to your everyday brew, but with increased health and environmental benefits. Since there's no need for tea bags, the tea leaves used in the product’s manufacture can be used to create fertiliser for agriculture.
Financial support from the Student Enterprise Fund allowed the scale-up of BREWED's prototype manufacturing process. Warwick’s Innovation Group also provided useful advice, one-to-one meetings and connections within industry to help grow the business.’
ConnectUs (Varun Balsara, Sejal Agarwal, Leon Tung Ho Lau)
‘ConnectUs is a student-led start-up that helps enhance social engagement in university campuses in an effort to combat social anxiety and isolation. ConnectUs uses a suggestive psychology-based algorithm that enables students to meet other like-minded students and attend events together. Visit our website and connect with us on Facebook.
The SEF grant money will be invested in developing our website and ordering promotional materials. We were also offered a package of development support, workshops, events and networking opportunities which is an ideal way to kick-start our business.’
Hip Hop to Help (Amber-Louise Pocklington)
‘Hip Hop to Help puts on free dance classes for schools, Universities and the community to raise money and awareness for charities through an optional donation, as well as giving all children and adults from all backgrounds opportunity to learn to, and enjoy dance. Check out our website, Facebook page, and promotional video.
Both the Student Enterprise Fund and the Lord Rootes Fund have really helped me: I’ve been able to book more venues for dance classes, increase my visibility, and reach more people in the community.’
We would also like to congratulate Amber on winning an OSCA (Outstanding Student Contribution Award) in 2019!
INGA (Shinemon Akiyama)
‘INGA is an investment platform that empowers any business of any size to get investments from the people who believe in them. Visit inga.io to learn more!
Support from the Student Enterprise Fund has helped us grow the team. We are now able to hire talented coders and entrepreneurs from Warwick and from other universities.’
LanguageMate (Alex Neep, Lora Herrmann)
‘At LanguageMate we allow you to integrate learning foreign vocabulary into your daily routine: reading the news. Visit our website to learn more and sign up for your free account. Also, don’t forget to join over 6,000 language learners on our Instagram!
The Student Enterprise Fund has allowed us pay for essential services which have allowed us to grow over the past 6 months. The Enterprise Team at Warwick have been helpful during every step of our journey!’
The Metalmann (Sakshi Mehta)
‘The Metalmann is a unique online business platform to facilitate the international trade of metal scrap, and to enhance and transform the Metal Recycling Supply Chain. Visit our website to learn more and download the app.
Warwick has been instrumental in realising my start-up dream while studying an intensive Masters course by supporting me every step of the way. The Student Enterprise Fund award has been an important milestone in my journey as it gave me the confidence to take The Metalmann to the next level.’
Nebula Learning (Prema Doraisamy, Bethany Staff)
‘Between January and July 2019, we provided 100+ schools with free online finance classes. What pupils say: “[The videos] were extremely stimulating and gave exactly the right amount of information; the visual images also made the economics come more to life.” “It's useful information that is not on the typical school curriculum.” Visit the website to learn more.
With the help of the Student Enterprise Fund, we were able to hire a voice actress for our videos. This was something we were planning on doing as several of our 100 pilot schools had requested this in the feedback they gave. The result of hiring a voice actress is that our videos are now noticeably more professional and fun. Furthermore, the judging panel provided useful advice on how to make Nebula financially sustainable.'
The People’s Backpack (Luke Netherclift, Kasia Jaworska, Larabella Myers, Lucy Izquierdo-Greene, Jacob Corry)
‘The People’s Backpack aims to make a meaningful impact to the Global Refugee Crisis. Through our stylish, high-quality backpacks designed in Milan, together we aim to support and empower refugees. With every purchase of our backpacks, we will donate a backpack which provides refugees with energy, light and space to carry their precious items, empowering them for their future. Through wearing our backpack you are showing that you support the inclusion of refugees and celebrate their contributions to society. Visit our Instagram and Facebook pages to learn more.
The People’s Backpack was born out of the Enactus Innovation Hub where we came up with the idea. We have secured funding from Enactus Warwick and the Student Enterprise Fund, which we plan to spend on prototyping, marketing and making our first set of backpacks to sell. We have received mentoring from consultant Peter Ptashko through Warwick SEED, as well as the Warwick Enterprise team and The Gateway. This funding and support has been invaluable in helping to turn our idea into reality!’
Sophie Stokes (Molly Lambourn)
‘Sophie Stokes is an art brand, producing homeware, stationery and accessories from my hand drawn designs. It offers quirky bespoke designs inspired by nature, feminism and retro nostalgia, and all the production is completed in the UK, supporting fellow British small businesses. Visit the website to learn more and purchase my products.
Thanks to Warwick Enterprise I have been able to launch this business. The funding has helped me to explore different products and designs and understand what consumers like and dislike. The funding has meant I stand out from other designers, as I have a website as well as social media and have been able to produce quality products.’
We would also like to congratulate Molly for being one of the first to join our new Graduate Accelerator Programme, sponsored by the QO-UnInn Enterprise Fund.
Utake (Sebastian Oliver-Amengual, Maxime Pinchart-Deny, Praise Mathew Johnson)
‘It is not easy for students to find the time to cook good food. Most places on campus are very busy, and queues can be frustrating. This is why we started to test a food delivery service by riding our bikes and receiving the orders through our Facebook page. Soon, we found out that we had potential and we decided to sign up for the Student Enterprise Fund.
After pitching our idea, we were granted £500 that helped us to establish the basis for our project. Furthermore, we were introduced to relevant people with whom we could discuss our business idea. Now, we are looking forward to launching our website. This journey is very exciting and we hope to continue learning every day.'
Trips and Events
Santander funding enabled us to run Her Innovation Collective for the first time in 2019, and to send our students to exciting conferences and entrepreneurial development programmes in Nottingham, London, Hong Kong, and Shenzhen.
Her Innovation Collective (University of Warwick, NOI Group, Santander)
An exciting opportunity for students to engage with leading women in innovation from sectors such as tech, marketing, finance, social enterprise and startups: sign up now for this year's programme!
‘I am still buzzing after the great evening spent on the HIC event yesterday.’
‘I am happy I was able to follow up with Neeta after the event, our conversation went well and she provided great insights and career advice.’
‘The coaching call was very helpful and inspiring.’
‘It is so empowering to see how much positive change can be brought about in a collective like the one we all created.’
Ingenuity19 (University of Nottingham)
The brainchild of Nottingham's Ingenuity Lab, Ingenuity19 was a forum of world-changing ideas, a development programme, and a prestigious business competition, all in one. Nine students from Warwick were able to participate in 2019, and we're very much looking forward to Ingenuity20!
‘The whole experience was good. The part I most enjoyed was the lecture by Amrit Dhir from Google Startups, who talked about failed projects at Google. Even such successful companies fail and fail a lot. It allows us to put our failures into perspective. Going through the Ingenuity Live process and having a diverse group at our table has helped us identify possible issues with our business idea. Also we have a list of about 40-50 different ideas about how this business could have more positive impact on the local community, how to scale it, be more cost efficient, etc.’ (Sayora Mussakhunova)
‘It gave me so many more viewpoints and helped me refine my idea and think further about the problem I’m actually looking to solve.’ (Brittany Walker)
‘I enjoyed the plethora of perspectives, both from the speakers and the attendees. The event was well-organised and the connections you may make are wonderful.’ (Jaakko Järviniemi)
‘I enjoyed learning about the existence of different perspectives on political, social and economic problems. I had lively discussions with post-grad students, late-40s entrepreneurs, peers, guest speakers and more. I was really impressed by the diversity. Very eye-opening.’ (Chinguun Nyambat)
HKPU Immersion Programme (Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Shenzhen University)
We gave fully-funded scholarships to six students to attend this entrepreneurial training programme. They were able to job-shadow start-up businesses and visit internationally renowned technology companies and incubators in Shenzhen and Hong Kong.
‘I learnt so much and it has really planted the seed in my head to create something of my own. I would recommend this to other students: it's a great way to explore tech in China, great for start ups, and great for personal development.’ (Ellen Humphreys)
‘One of the best parts of the program was to network and talk informally - sometimes formally - with staff and fellow students on the program. This enabled us to gain an idea of their entrepreneurial experiences and culture from their respective countries. I have made good fellowships and kept in contact with a number of students both in the UK and abroad. Another enjoyable part was the job shadowing, although it wasn't necessarily a field I'm familiar with. To see how a small tech start-up operates day-to-day will be important as I take my own business forward. And of course it was great to explore Shenzhen and Hong Kong and experience the culture, food and nightlife. I would recommend this to other students: it was truly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. The programme offers an array of different activities, tasks and networking opportunities that cannot be found elsewhere, so make sure you embrace it and nurture the development of your interpersonal and academic skills because the two weeks will fly by.’ (Mustafa Khraishi)
‘The part I enjoyed the most was the people! Talking with students from Australia, China, Korea, Hong Kong, Canada etc. really allowed me to broaden my knowledge and get different perspectives on entrepreneurial theories from different countries/cultures. I think the global perspective this programme has given me is incredibly important and will help me in the future post-graduation. I also really enjoyed the visit to Tencent headquarters. I would definitely recommend this programme and I thank Warwick Enterprise for having given me the opportunity.... I met wonderful people I am sure I can count on in the future… Being a Digital Innovation & Entrepreneurship student, this was definitely the best immersion programme I could have ever done.’ (Giacomo Bottoli)
‘I enjoyed the people by far the most. It was an excellent experience to meet all these different students from all over the world. I definitely made some great connections and friends. For me that's super important since I want to start a business that operates across the globe. The sessions run by the guys from PolyU with investment and start-up experience were really amazing, since I got super valuable feedback. I would always recommend it to other students. It was organised very well and it was an exceptional cultural and networking experience.’ (Maximilian Gutsche)
'I really liked that I didn't know anyone, including the Warwick people, so there were no cliques, everyone was happy to make new friends immediately. I would recommend it to other students: a great trip with great people, would definitely do it again!' (Ptolemy Banks)
TrepCamp (Impulsa Global, Imperial College London, Santander)
We were able to sponsor two students' tuition and accommodation fees to attend this three-week summer training program, in which they received training to become high-impact entrepreneurs.
‘I learnt a lot about being an entrepreneur. I met so many people, and I believe meeting those people changed my life forever. We had a very friendly relationship with the TrepCamp coordinator and mentors, which was fantastic – by the end we were like family. We visited Google and Facebook headquarters – that was so interesting to me.’ (Dina Bahrami)
‘Overall it was a wonderful experience. I met some really amazing people who I will probably stay in touch with for the rest of my life. It was remarkable to see how we all connected on the subject of entrepreneurship, irrespective of our backgrounds. I’ve taken a lot of mentors away from this – it was a huge networking opportunity. The experience of being amongst different cultures and leading a diverse team was brilliant. I also got some really cool insights about my business, ConnectUs [see below].’ (Varun Balsara)
Our brilliant colleagues in IATL, Robert O’ Toole, Bo Kelestyn, and Vishalakshi Roy, ran two entrepreneurial modules, sponsored by Santander.
Here's what Bo said about the experience:
'Teaching Entrepreneurship and Design Thinking is the most exciting part of my career! The interdisciplinary nature of these modules means both staff and students involved get to experience a diversity of views and perspectives that few other Universities and departments can match. At IATL, we are also really committed to bringing the best of our industry connections into the modules to make sure students get a really rich academic and practical understanding of how innovation is designed, implemented and scaled. Both modules offer a number of opportunities to develop skills and broaden students' innovation and creativity mindset, which is invaluable for any career and post Warwick destination.' (Bo Kelestyn)
And here's what the students said:
‘I used to feel pressure to pursue my initial career ambition, namely to become a film director... Both Design Thinking and Entrepreneurship have encouraged me to open my perspective to a range of different opportunities across many industry sectors. It helped me to embrace the practical possibilities of my interdisciplinary training and creativity. I had an interview for a great job in user experience design. I used what I had learned in the module to answer the interview questions. I got the job.’ (Laura-Céline Schildknecht)
‘It has really transformed my life.’
‘The design challenges were really fun and interesting. It was enjoyable to learn a different writing style too - the portfolio is a brilliant way of doing the assessment. The showcase was an excellent opportunity to pitch ideas in a 'real life' setting outside of the academic context.’
‘The interdisciplinary aspects were fused together. When we had guest speakers leading sessions Rob and Bo were there throughout to provide context and keep the coherence of the module going - making the ten week period feel like one massive interdisciplinary discussion.’
Student Society Sponsorship
We are so proud of our student-run entrepreneurial societies here at Warwick. The donation from Santander enabled us to sponsor some of the amazing events societies ran in 2018/19:
Warwick Incubator ran a pitching competition, culminating in the Shard Demo Day in London.
Enactus Warwick ran their Innovation Hub Challenge, and in the process created The People's Backpack (see above).