University news

Venture Further 2020 ventures online to deliver digital awards event

The winners of the 2020 Venture Further business start-up competition have been announced during the first ever online awards ceremony. Hosted by serial-entrepreneur and philanthropist Vikas Shah MBE, 10 teams of entrepreneurs have been awarded a share of a £75,000 cash prize fund to help take their start-ups to the next level.

Joined by previous Venture Further winner Scott Martin, founder and CEO of Recourse AI and distinguished guest speaker, Andy Stanford-Clark, IBM’s CTO for the UK and Ireland, the evening was a celebration of innovation and entrepreneurship at The University of Manchester. 

The annual Venture Further competition, run by the Masood Enterprise Centre, invites students and researchers from across The University of Manchester, as well as recent alumni, to submit their business proposals to an expert judging panel of enterprise and business professionals. The competition offers an opportunity to win a vital cash injection to help realise their business goals.

Attracting more than 100 entries, 20 business proposals reached the final round. In each of the four categories – Business, Creative, Environmental, Social and Technology – four teams competed for the top cash prize of £12,000. The runners up in each category also received a £3,000 prize.

This year’s winners were:

Business category: Spice Story

An authentic and sustainable food brand, using traditional cooking methods to provide meat-free frozen Indian ready meals. 

Rijul Shukla, MSc Innovation Management and Entrepreneurship

Creative category:  Blue Shoes Productions Ltd

A socially responsible production company creating audio and visual content based on underrepresented voices in society.

Alexander Deniston, MA History (Alumni Class of 2018)

Jake Gill, MA History (Alumni Class of 2018)

Liam Steers, MA History (Alumni Class of 2018)

Environmental category:  Hai

Hai makes potato growers’ potential a reality, reducing harvest losses while identifying the root of the problem. Providing accurate insight on harvest timing to maximise profit and avoid losses.

Diego Corona-López, PhD Electrical and Electronic Engineering

Andrea Izquierdo Ruiz, PhD Electronic Textiles in Material Science and Engineering

Charles Veys, PhD Electrical and Electronic Engineering (Alumni Class of 2018)

Social category:  Tatu Nurse

Focusing on the least developed African countries who face a critical shortage of nurses, Tatu Nurse is a non-profit initiative that builds technologies to make nurses smarter so they can save more lives.  

Samuel Mugisha, MSc Advanced Computer Science

Patience Nagaba, MSc Communication and Signal Processing

Philip Nomwesigwa & Lydia Mbaziira Birungi (external team members)

Technology category:  Stressless

Making neuroscience-powered smartphone games for stress relief; ones where the longer you play, the more relaxed you become.

Nikhil Kurian Jacob, PhD Electrical and Electronic Engineering

Nathan Newman (external team member)

Competition Organiser, Ellie Buckley said: “Now in its 15th year, we received the highest number of entries in the history of the competition from every Faculty in the University, demonstrating the appetite for entrepreneurship is increasing here at The University of Manchester.

“The standard and quality of business ideas submitted have been impeccable, with candidates validating assumptions and conducting thorough market research to submit both credible and viable business plans.  

“This year has been particularly difficult for finalists who have had to navigate through the restrictions placed upon them during the Coronavirus pandemic.

“Despite these challenges, the competition has been a phenomenal success culminating in a fantastic online awards event which aired not only regionally and nationally but also internationally with audience members watching in China, Thailand, Switzerland and India. It’s been extremely enjoyable to organise this year’s competition and I can’t wait to support the entrepreneurs in furthering their start-ups.”

Venture Further 2020 was supported by:

Fuel Card Services, IBM, Manchester Science Partnerships & Vita Student

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