The winners of the 2018 Venture Further competition have been announced at an awards ceremony at The University of Manchester. Eight teams of entrepreneurs have been awarded a share of a £50,000 cash prize fund to help take their start-ups to the next level.
Manchester Enterprise Centre’s annual Venture Further competition invited students and researchers from across The University of Manchester, as well as recent alumni, to submit their business proposal to an expert judging panel of enterprise and business professionals. The competition offered an opportunity to win a vital cash injection to help realise their business goals.
The 2018 competition attracted more than 60 entries, with 16 reaching the final round. In each of the four categories – business, digital, research and social – 4 teams competed for the top cash prize of £10,000. The runners up in each category also received a £2,500 prize.
This year’s winners were:
Specscart: Changing the way eyewear is sold and perceived.
Siddharth Sethi, MSc International Business and Management, Alliance Manchester Business School
AiPatient: Revolutionising medical education by creating the first artificially intelligent patients.
Scott Martin, BSc Management and Innovation in Healthcare, Alliance Manchester Business School
UrbanChain: Designing, developing and disseminating blockchain technology for utility services.
Dr Somayeh Taheri, PhD Planning and Landscape, School of Environment, Education and Development
Dr Mohammad Hajhashem, PhD Business and Management, Alliance Manchester Business School
Bundlee: The UK's first baby clothing rental subscription.
Eve Kekeh, MEnt Business, Alliance Manchester Business School
Competition Director, Dr Martin Henery, said: “Once again it’s been a fantastic year in terms of the quality and range of entries. While technology-driven innovation – incorporating everything from AI and blockchain, to chatbots and drones – has been on the rise, all entries have had the same thing in common - a committed team or individual passionate about solving real problems that people care about.
“Another significant trend is that many of the businesses are actually already trading including some by international graduates who have also been successful in applying for a Tier 1 visa under the University’s Graduate Entrepreneur scheme.
“None of this makes our judges’ job any easier but, thankfully, nor does it make it any less enjoyable with regular comments from the panels about how impressed they were with the quality and professionalism of the entries.”
This year's Venture Further competition was sponsored by BNY Mellon, Manchester Science Partnerships and Waters.