New Enterprise Competition finalists announced
17 April 2009
The University has revealed the eight projects selected to go through to the final stage of its £35,000 New Enterprise Competition 2009.
The competition, designed to inspire new high-growth business ideas and entrepreneurial talent, attracted stiff competition, with entries from all faculties of the University. Only eight of the projects were shortlisted to go through to the final stage. The competition will also allow one student wild-card entry to be determined by the University’s student-run enterprise body, BUBA (Bristol University Business Angels), out of the unsuccessful applicants.
‘The New Enterprise Competition 2009 is our eighth consecutive competition. As we enter the University’s centenary year, we continue to see a high volume of innovative and inspiring entries,’ said Dr Neil Bradshaw, Director of Enterprise at the University of Bristol. ‘We are proud to be able to offer this opportunity to help those with enterprising ideas turn them into significant realities.’
The shortlisted projects were announced by Laurence Hedditch, Technology Partner at Deloitte (one of the competition sponsors), at an event held at the University last week. Enterprising staff and students gathered to see if they had made it onto the shortlist, and successful candidates collected a certificate presented to them by Dr Bradshaw.
One of the shortlisted projects was developed by University of Bristol undergraduate student Edward Matos (Department of Engineering), who has developed a social enterprise that will disseminate biodigester technology among the rural poor in developing countries.
There are 2.6 billion people around the world who collect firewood every day as fuel for cooking and heating. In Africa alone, more than 400,000 people, mostly children, die every year from acute respiratory infections caused by inhalation of smoke in the home. The biodigester technology will capture fuel from the bacteriological digestion of livestock excrement and has the potential to replace firewood as rural Africa’s fuel of choice.
Also making it to the final is Project Crunch. Developed by computer science undergraduate Jonathan Bliss, Crunch is a software-based method of electronic data transformation giving significantly faster transmission of data of any type, including audio, video, text and graphics.
Teamup is an online marketplace for booking local sports activities and making sports arrangements with friends and other players. Developed by University of Bristol alumni Rupert Baker and David Bath, this time-saving facility will provide consumers with better information.
Other shortlisted projects include:
- a low-cost device which aids the treatment of blindness;
- a non-semantic search tool to find the latest fashions on the internet;
- a dynamic demand control unit to make fridge/freezers more efficient;
- educational photo-editing software, aimed specifically at children; and
- scalable video encryption technology.
The New Enterprise Competition is launched every autumn and is open to students, staff and recent graduates of the University. There is a substantial prize fund in the region of £35,000 including cash, free professional advice and managed office space at the Bristol SETsquared Centre to help make businesses a commercial success.
A panel of experts from the sponsoring organisations including Bristol City Council, Business Link, Deloitte, Edwards, Ginko Investments Ltd, IP Group, Osbourne Clarke, North Bristol NHS Trust, Santander, SETsquared Business Acceleration Centre and the Wyvern Seed Fund will judge the best entries from those submitted. Successful entries will then be invited to submit full business plans.
Winners of the 2009 New Enterprise Competition will be revealed at the University’s Enterprise gala dinner on 30 June in the Wills Memorial Building.
During the shortlisting event, David Harrel, co-founder of pan European law firm SJ Berwin and an alumnus of the University (LLB, 1970) was inducted on to the University’s Enterprise Roll of Honour. Martyn Riley (BSc, 1985 and MSc, 1990) and Laura Riley (BA, 1984 and Certificate in Education, 1985), co-founders of award winning 4i2i Communications Ltd, were also inducted.
Mr Harrel addressed staff and students attending the event, encouraging them to enter the competition and sharing his own experiences of setting up a business.