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To boldly go where no University has gone before

Press release issued: 21 July 2004

Last night the University of Bristol unveiled two entrepreneurs of the future at its annual dinner to celebrate innovation and enterprise. 

Last night the University of Bristol unveiled two entrepreneurs of the future at its annual dinner to celebrate innovation and enterprise.  Over 220 representatives from business and industry as well as local government and academia gathered to hear the announcement of the University’s 2004 New Enterprise competition, based on innovations developed at the University.

Joint first prize was shared between two teams of researchers who hope to develop their research into new businesses: a medical device to assist couples trying to have a baby, and an online security risk analysis service.  The former, by Andy Butterworth and Toby Knowles, called ‘Warm Body’ is based on the development of a tampon-sized thermometer to record changes in the woman’s body temperature to enable more accurate prediction of the times of maximum fertility.  The other idea known as ‘Global Risk Management’, from Rob Dover and Anthony Forster, is based on providing information and coping strategies to organisations and individuals to help them to operate in an increasingly uncertain world.  It means that clients will be able to take personal and business risks with greater certainty and precision. Both teams received £10,000 in cash plus legal services from Osborne Clarke and business support from the University and its SETsquared centre.

There was also an undergraduate prize which went to students Timothy Palmer and Malcolm Dalzel-Job for their ‘Predictive Text Keyboard’.  They won £5,000 in cash and business support from the University for their idea to increase dramatically the speed at which you can type into a computer, PDA (Personal Digital Assistant) or mobile phone.

Joint first prize winner Dr Toby Knowles, after having collected his prize, said: “We are extremely pleased to have won.  We will be looking to develop our idea further, with the help of not only the cash prize but also the continuing support that will be available from the University and the local business community”. 

The night was not only about the New Enterprise competition.  The event, held in the Great Hall of the University’s Wills Memorial Building, provided a unique opportunity for a wide range of people with an interest in university enterprise to network and exchange news.  University enterprise is currently key to Gordon Brown’s knowledge economy agenda. It also provided an opportunity for the University to expand on its recent £13 million collaborative award from the Government and to showcase the new businesses it has helped to establish.

Two of these companies, both of which are based at the University of Bristol’s SETsquared centre, gave presentations. Mobile Life Consulting Ltd, who help people take existing websites and make them mobile phone enabled, gave the audience the chance to win prizes by playing ‘mobile phone bingo’.  The other company, Coull, have developed technology to enable individuals to create and broadcast their own TV channel.  They demonstrated how this can be done using just a computer, a basic digital camera and broadband connection.

The host, Professor Eric Thomas, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Bristol, outlined in his opening address the increasing importance of enterprise, not only to the University but also to the local community and the wider economy. 

Professor Thomas stated: “Tonight demonstrates the key role of the research-led universities in stimulating innovation and enterprise.  I am delighted to be here celebrating our successes with our partners from business and industry”.

The New Enterprise competition is sponsored by Bankside, Deloitte & Touche, Fortis Bank, Osborne Clarke, STMicroelectronics and Sulis Innovation Ltd.

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