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Businesses of the future vie for share of £35,000 prize fund

Press release issued: 20 February 2013

Creating pop-up farms around Bristol and establishing a student-run lettings agency are just two of the innovative entries which have been shortlisted to win a share of £35,000 in a competition run by the University of Bristol.

The New Enterprise Competition (NEC) attracted a record-breaking 75 entries this year and judges had a tough job whittling them down to the final 10.

Students, staff and recent graduates are competing not just for the money to advance their ideas but also the free advice and managed office space up for grabs at the Bristol SETsquared Centre, which will help bring the winning ideas to the marketplace.

The shortlisted entries are:

  • Autonomous Radiological Monitoring (ARM) Systems (James MacFarlane) - low-altitude radiation detection equipment for use in autonomous aerial vehicles.
  • Bristol Point of Care Consortium (Dr Elisabeth Adams) - a new independent source of expertise in assessing the value of Point of Care Tests.
  • Energybrake (Tom Shacham) - using braking energy from a bicycle as a portable source of energy for recharging electronic devices.
  • Flood Risk Services (Christopher Sampson) - using world-leading hydraulic modelling of flood risks to provide a service to insurance firms.
  • Land Mine Detection (Douglas Cave) - unmanned aerial vehicles with ground-penetrating radar to map minefields around the world.
  • Pop-up Urban Farm (Matt Montgomery) - using derelict land and simple portable infrastructure to create ‘pop-up’ farms supplying the restaurant trade in Bristol with fresh local produce.
  • Sorptech (Edward Clayton) - using low temperature heat from vehicles to create a refrigeration effect to save energy use and reduce pollution caused by refrigerated vehicles.
  • Think Chromic (Joshua Cole) – using heat-sensitive thermochromic ink to create a new low-cost technology for the advertising industry.
  • UBSU Letting Agency (Jed Peacock) - the creation of a student-run lettings agency to create a new student-friendly letting agency in the city.
  • Ultrahaptics (Tom Carter) - a revolutionary new form of tactile feedback, enabling the sensation of touch in mid-air which would have a variety of applications across a range of industries.

The finalists now go through to submit a 20-page business plan and give a presentation pitch to the judges again on 19 June before the result is announced at the University’s Enterprise Dinner on 25 June.

Dave Jarman, Head of Enterprise Education at the University of Bristol, said: “To receive 75 entries for the NEC this year was unprecedented. They were all of a really high standard, which made it tough for the judges to select a shortlist of just 10.

“We’re excited to read the final business plans to see whether these brilliant ideas have the scope to become reality. The opportunity to get professional advice, feedback, and mentoring is valuable to all those who take part, arguably more so than the prizes. Even those who don’t go on to win gain a lot from simply being involved in the competition.”

Sponsors of this year’s NEC are: Deloitte, EADS, IP Group, Marketest, Motorola Solutions UK, Santander, SETsquared, Veale Wasbrough Vizards and Wyvern Seed Fund.