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Enterprise at Bristol University

Press release issued: 16 July 2003

The University of Bristol hosted its annual Enterprise Dinner to celebrate its enterprise activities and to announce the winner of this year's Business Plan Competition.

The University of Bristol hosted its annual Enterprise Dinner to celebrate its enterprise activities and to announce the winner of this year's Business Plan Competition, last night [Tuesday, July 15].

With over 230 representatives from the business and financial sectors, industry and academia, this event provided a unique opportunity for a wide range of people with an interest in entrepreneurship to gather together to exchange ideas and news. It also provided an opportunity for the University to showcase its spinout companies, flagship industrial research collaborations and excellent research and education that are the foundations of its enterprise activities.

The host, Professor Eric Thomas, the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Bristol, welcomed guests and, in his opening address, went on to outline the increasing importance of enterprise not only to the University but also to the local community and the knowledge-driven economy. Professor Thomas stated: "It is imperative that we build relationships with business that are both long lasting and beneficial to all involved".

The University's Business Plan competition winners for 2003 were announced at the Dinner. First prize, worth £15,000, went to undergraduate students Jake Kenny and Tim Axford for their innovative carbon fibre folding bicycle. They also won an additional special Student Prize worth £5,000.

Tim Axford said: "We are extremely pleased to have won not only the student prize but also the overall prize. We will be looking to develop our idea further, with the help of our prizes, now that we have graduated".

Other winners included Ed Kingston and David Smith who won second prize (£7,000) for their idea for measuring interior stress in engineering components, and undergraduate students Sarah Marshall and Neil Taylor who won third prize (£3,000) for their unique waterproof pouch and headphone set. A special entrepreneurship award worth £2,000 went to Paul Collender, another undergraduate student for his computer controlled engraving machine, thus highlighting the success of student entries this year.

The main speaker Tim Hirst, Professor of Microbiology at Bristol, summarised the key focus of the event by describing his own "journey through the enterprise jungle". He talked of his experiences in taking discoveries from a university laboratory into commercial development and shared the joys and challenges of commercialisation.

Professor Hirst said: "I have seen a remarkable transformation in Bristol over the past seven years. The dawn of a new type of academic is, I believe, here where third leg funding, engagement with enterprise and business is an integral part of what it means to be an academic".

Details of the 2003 winners:

Jake Kenny and Tim Axford: Carbon fibre folding bicycle - innovative design of strong, lightweight carbon fibre folding bicycle frames which will reduce the weight of a folding bicycle by up to 50%.

Ed Kingston and David Smith: Interior stress measurement in engineering components - Using its unique deep hole drilling technique, Vector will provide a commercial, world-wide service for measurement of interior residual stress in large safety critical engineering components such as nuclear power plant or rail track systems.

Sarah Marshall and Neil Taylor: Special Audio Systems - a completely waterproof pouch and headphone set for use with standard personal stereo equipment allowing users to swim or surf whilst listening to music.

Paul Collender: a computer controlled engraving machine that converts digital photographic images into unique and stylish engravings.

For more information, visit Research and Enterprise Development

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