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University aims to scoop top prize in competition

Press release issued: 14 October 2005

Three graduates from the University of Bristol have reached the finals of a national competition for entrepreneurs with their innovative publication.

Three graduates from the University of Bristol have reached the finals of a national competition for entrepreneurs with their innovative publication.

Dr Andrew Impey and Mark Steer (pictured) as well as Dr David Hall devised 'Null Hypothesis' to cast a wry eye over the world of science and technology. 

Software entrepreneur Doug Richard, who appeared on BBC2's 'Dragon's Den' series as a business expert, is one of the judges for the competition co-ordinated by the Scottish Institute for Enterprise (SIE).

The aim of the competition is to stimulate entrepreneurship in higher education institutions across the UK and was supported by the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts (NESTA) and the UK Science Enterprise Centres (UKSEC).

It encourages young people to show entrepreneurial spirit by coming up with new ideas and developing these into workable business plans.

Described as being the 'Private Eye' of science journalism, 'Null Hypothesis' is the only UK periodical to tackle its subject in a light-hearted fashion. 

The monthly publication presents a range of satirical articles as well as fascinating genuine research and nuggets of the bizarre.

The Bristol team will join 17 other business finalists from the rest of the UK at an awards ceremony in Edinburgh next month (14 November).

The winners of the competition will receive £25,000 of investment from NESTA to bring their business idea to life.

In addition, the winning team will get access to professional support and expertise from carefully selected mentors.

Dr Impey, currently a research associate in the university's School of Biological Sciences, said: "To be in the final of this UK-wide competition is truly wonderful, and we are naturally delighted to have got this far.

"It has been a lot of hard work but has also been great fun along the way."

Sharon Bamford, chief executive of SIE, said: "We are delighted with the very high standard of entries that we've received for the first ever UK National Business competition. 

"There's been a diverse range of business ideas from enterprising individuals who, in addition to undertaking their studies are also developing businesses start ups of great potential. 

"Competitions like the UKSEC National Business Plan competition are a great way to encourage the entrepreneurs of tomorrow who will make a vital contribution to the UK economy."

Mark White, Director of Invention and Innovation at NESTA, said: "NESTA was set up to invest in UK ideas with a commercial edge at the earliest stage possible.

"We aim to give them every chance of becoming a success through a system of financial and non-financial support.

"We're delighted to be extending our reach by working with SIE on the UKSEC National Business Plan.

"By targeting younger entrepreneurs we can capture that enterprising spirit early on, and give it the business support to help it thrive."

The magazine was assisted by a pump-priming grant from the Alumni Foundation.

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