Launch-it!

Previous winners

Every year, we are bowled over by our finalists and their BIG ideas - 2015 was no exception. Read on to find out why.

Amaquella founders, Todd Martin and Rob Clifton
Amaquella Todd Martin With Rob Clifton Winner

Founded in 2015, student travel company Amaquella offers the experience of a lifetime at student-friendly prices – whilst raising money for the Epilepsy Society.

Working with both South American and UK-based partners, Amaquella specialises in Peruvian adventures.

Following a year of fundraising activities, travellers head off to explore the varied and breath-taking Peruvian landscape – including the ancient Inca capital, Cusco, and one of the Seven Wonders of the World, Machu Picchu.    

The journey reaches its finale with the chance to step up for some of the most adrenaline-fuelled endeavours on the planet – zip-lining in the Natura Vive Sacred Valley and dune-buggying across the Atacama desert.   

Amaquella adventures are ATOL protected – ensuring travellers have the time of their life without a care in the world.

Ama suwa, ama llulla, ama quella.
The three tenets of the Incan moral code:
Don’t steal, don’t lie, don’t be lazy.

Amaquella was awarded the Consultancy or Service category prize. 

BEEJ founders - SanJay Guria, Shweta Dhariwal and Sarah Jane Lawton
BEEJ Sanjay Guria With Shweta Dhariwal and Sarah Jane Lawton Winner

The Hindi word 'beej' means 'seed' – and sums up social enterprise BEEJ’s aspirations perfectly.

In partnership with charities, galleries and NGOs the company aims to support the expanding elderly population – many of whom feel isolated and lonely – by providing them with a social network established via creative workshops – as well as the chance to hone traditional handicraft skills.

BEEJ will develop kits – comprising sustainable and fair trade materials – that can be used to create beautiful, eco-friendly textile products for children.

They will also manage the workshops, teaching people how to put these items together by hand.

The products can then be gifted or sold via online stores or pop-up shops to generate funds to support the company’s development and mission.

The company will begin operations locally, but hope that once the seed is sown they will be able to expand worldwide.

BEEJ – making beautiful things the right way 

BEEJ was awarded the Social Enterprise category prize

Bill Hut founder, Will Bird Bill Hut Will Bird

Bill Hut is a web-application that evolves the way households manage, share and save on their bills.

Within minutes, households can synchronise all of their bill accounts into one simple platform that is powered by a financial management interface.

Bill splitting, reminders and payments are taken care of in-App making Bill Hut perfect for a variety of households, including house-shares.

Bill Hut automatically compares the market on behalf of its users, tracking the results so users can see their tariff’s performance against the market. This streamlined process will ensure that users never feel the need to use a manual comparison engine again.

Bill Hut is the only solution for end-to-end management of household bills that makes splitting bills and saving money on them effortless.

Deltoid Fitness founder, Philip Wood
Deltoid Fitness Philip Wood

Demand for sports nutrition products is growing rapidly with reported sales growth in the region of 40 per cent in 2014.*

Deltoid Fitness will become the online one-stop-shop for Loughborough students, comparing and buying products from a range of well-known and trusted brands.

The company’s product lines will initially comprise protein supplements as well as the plastic shakers to prepare them.

Deltoid Fitness will guarantee quality products; competitive pricing; and convenient, prompt delivery across campus.

Once established, the company will develop its own brand products and branch out to serve student athletes across the country.

 

* The Guardian (30 December 2014)

 

Duvet Days founder, Rhys Edwards 
Duvet days Rhys Edwards Winner

You can tell a lot about a person by the way they dress...their bedroom. And Duvet Days will help students across the country dress to impress.

With a range of fresh, modern duvet covers and an array of must-have accessories from some well-known names, Duvet Days is set to become the place to go for those wanting to look good even in their sleep.

As well as products by major brands, Duvet Days will deliver its own unique styles, tailored for students on a budget.

Styled in soft, durable fabrics, Duvet Days' bed linen will feel as good as it looks.

Pop-up shops and home deliveries will make snuggling up for a Duvet Day easy for busy students.

The best days are Duvet Days. 

Duvet Days was the winner of the Santander Universities Award.

Emergency Breakfast Co. founder, George Higginson Emergency Breakfast Co. George Higginson

Your stomach tells you it’s breakfast time – but your body wants to stay in bed.

Fear not – now you can stay in bed and enjoy the perfect breakfast. The Emergency Breakfast Co. is on hand to deliver a delicious, hassle-free start to the day.

Create your breakfast from an extensive selection of items at student-friendly prices.

Simply place your order using the EBC free App and pay via PayPal. No matter where you are on campus, breakfast will be delivered right to your door.

As the business grows, EBC plans to expand nationwide so hungry students everywhere never have to miss breakfast again.

EBC – the breakfast delivery service

EventCatch founders, Benjamin Oddie and Peter Bailey
EventCatch Benjamin Oddie With Peter Bailey Winner

EventCatch is a piece of social media extraction software that makes events more interactive for organisers and participants as well as those who’d like to be there, but can’t.

It combines pre-, live and post-event operations in one package, facilitating the effective management of online dialogue and visibility.

The software integrates seamlessly with Twitter, dynamically streaming selected hashtags – allowing organisers and attendees to share the experience with each other and the wider public in real-time, encouraging engagement even beyond the event venue.

This data collation is also invaluable for post-event analysis, providing organisers with a repository of comments, images and feedback to support future event planning. 

EventCatch was awarded the Technology category and Think BIG BIG Three (Third) prizes.

Foodland founders, Saransh Gupta and Marcus Dauksz
Foodland Saransh Gupta With Marcus Dauksz

Tracking down dinner at a reasonable price can be a real challenge when you’re always on the go.

Innovative App – Foodland – is set to make hunting and gathering delicious deals much easier.

Restaurants, cafes and take-aways will list their latest offers on the App so that time-pressed, cash-strapped Foodlanders can decide where and what to eat before heading out.

As well as serving food outlets and diners, the App will address the disgrace that is wasted food.

In the UK alone, about seven million tonnes of food and drink feed the bin rather than humans every year.*

On slow days, food outlets will encourage custom with time-specific special offers, reducing the waste caused by over-catering.

And famished Foodlanders can feed for less.

A win-win situation all round – bon appétit!

 * england.lovefoodhatewaste.com

Foodland was named Runner-up in the E-commerce and Retail category.

Two of the FrenPal founders FrenPals Ibrahim Abdulkarim With Siting Yang and Jaydeep Gandhi

UK universities are among the most popular study destinations worldwide, but moving to live in a new country can be daunting.

FrenPals helps make settling into a new educational environment quicker, easier and more fun.

Prospective and new students simply register on the FrenPals website and are introduced to student volunteers who help them settle into their new environment.

These specially trained Buddies provide a real insight into living and studying in the UK – and the FrenPals App offers a comprehensive support service for people leaving home for the first time.

This unique service means that even before leaving home, newbie students have a network of friends and a good idea of what to expect.

Meanwhile, the buddies hone invaluable skills that will serve them well beyond their university years.

Once established in Loughborough, FrenPals will be rolled out nationwide – helping international students adapt to UK university life wherever their studies take them.

FrenPals was named Runner-up in the Consultancy or Service category.

Goalfie founders - Guangyu Gao, Diandian Chen and Ruohong Fan
Goalfie Guangyu Gao With Diandian Chen and Ruohong Fan Winner

Almost against the odds, interest in golf is booming across China – increasing numbers of people are playing as well as enjoying it as a spectator sport.

Goalfie will offer this growing number of fairway fans the ultimate in golf tourism – a seven-day trip to the Home of Golf, St Andrews.

Each visit will feature local sight-seeing and shopping trips as well as a range of leisure activities, including golf – lots of golf.

The golf pilgrims will enjoy exclusive training sessions with professional players and coaches, and experience three of the seven courses comprising the largest public golf complex in Europe – the Old, New and Castle Courses.

The trip of a lifetime – par for the course with Goalfie

Goalfie was the Sport category winner.

In2Collision founder, Sophie-Louise Hyde
In2Collision Sophie-Louise Hyde Winner

In2Collision specialises in writing, editing and publishing products, as well as a variety of service packages for the creative and corporate sector.

Its evolving portfolio includes the award-winning writing platform for students and graduates, The Student Wordsmith; a research-poetry initiative, In Verbatim; and new platform, The Combined Collective, which specialises in portfolio services for budding artists.

Contributors and clients for the various divisions of In2Collision are from a range of backgrounds and age groups, but are all highly creative individuals.

Over the coming five years, In2Collision’s mission is to become the ideal online space for editing, copywriting, and publication preparation services.

Engaging with over 1,700 potential and existing customers to date, it has successfully made sales of over £5,000 in its first year.

In2Collision – the space where creative and corporate worlds collide


In2Collision won the Creative category and Think BIG BIG Three (Second) prizes, and The Sir Thomas White Loan Charity Award.

The Isolana founders Isolana London Forrest Skerman-Stevenson With Charlie Baron Winner

Combining an innovative printing process, luxurious leather and skilled workmanship, Isolana London creates beautiful bespoke wallets – at affordable prices.

Customers provide an image along with the initials of the recipient, choice of leather colour and preferred style and Isolana weave their magic.

The leather is sourced from Italian tanneries and each item is hand-made and printed by craftsmen based on a Thames island in London – hence the name*.

Isolana’s workshop has been producing leather goods for well-known brands – including Chanel, Hermes, Mulberry and Paul Smith – since 1999 and are renowned for the quality of their work. They are now bringing luxury printed products to all.

Safety note – everyone will want your wallet!

 * “Isolana” – Italian for “islander”

Isolana London won the Potter Clarkson Intellectual Property Development Award and was Runner-up in the Creative category.

Jackson Bag Co. founder, Lawrence Heard Jackson Bag Co. Lawrence Heard

In bustling city environments, carrying a handbag and a gym bag on the daily commute to the office and gym causes hassle and frustration.

The Jackson Bag Co. offers a range of luxury functional and fashionable bags that provide an innovative solution to the problem.

Their compartmentalised design separates gym gear from essential handbag items – ensuring sweaty notebooks are a thing of the past.

The perfect gym-hand-bag for active professional women, Jackson Bags make the daily commute an easier and more stylish one.

Available soon via Shopify, Jackson Bags will ultimately increase its product lines to include similar holdalls for men as well as women.

Noeline Elizabeth founder, Priscilla Mukiibi Noeline Elizabeth Priscilla Mukiibi Winner

A special occasion requires a terrific, confidence-boosting outfit – and what could be more sartorially special than a tailor-made dress?

Noeline Elizabeth will make commissioning and owning a beautiful bespoke investment piece more affordable.

What’s more – unlike off-the-peg high street brands – Noeline Elizabeth dresses will be lovingly created using the client’s measurements, ensuring a flattering and comfortable fit.

With a wide choice of styles, fabrics, colours and trimmings Noeline Elizabeth’s classic designs can be tailored to suit the tastes and needs of real women of all ages, shapes and sizes.

And with a team of experienced designers and couturiers to guide the process, it couldn’t be simpler or more enjoyable.

Noeline Elizabeth – the grace of elegant dressing


Noeline Elizabeth won the Marketest Award.

Nommable founder, Steph Wilkinson 
Nommable Steph Wilkinson

The number of people who are either lactose or gluten intolerant is steadily growing.

Finding suitable alternatives to these staples is becoming easier, but tracking down delicious dairy- and gluten-free desserts can be a bit of a challenge.  

Steph Wilkinson’s company creates delicious dairy-gluten-free desserts – sourcing high-quality ingredients and adapting traditional much-loved recipes.

Each delectable dish is rigorously tested to ensure it is safe for consumers and – just as importantly – tastes like heaven.

She aims to supply supermarket and restaurant chains with her tasty treats to ensure mouth-watering desserts and patisserie are conveniently available to everyone.  

Her current product range includes creamy meringue stacks and cookie crumble in unique and tempting flavours not currently on the market.

Nommable won the Manufacturing category prize.

Plato founders, Oliver Gaziano and Liam Grace
Plato Oliver Gaziano With Liam Grace

Plato is a web-based innovation and 360-degree feedback management system which enables organisations to gather, share and evaluate employee problems and innovative ideas as and when they arise.

Employees often experience their company’s inefficiencies first hand, putting them in a privileged position to innovate and problem solve.

Plato incorporates a real-time, filterable input-feed of ideas which managers can consider in order to improve working practices and inefficiencies.

Ideas and issues are shared across the organisation via Plato’s traffic light system with Green signalling take action; Amber, decision pending; and so forth.

This creates is a fluid and dynamic company culture where everyone is empowered to make a difference.

Plato aims to make businesses operate more efficiently and immediately.

Plato was named Runner-up in the Technology category.

SecureME founder, Dilip Shewakramani SecureME Dilip Shewakramani Winner

Every parent’s nightmare – losing sight of their child in a crowded place.

This unique brand of jewellery and accessories will help parents keep tabs on their little ones, providing a reassuring sense of security.

Featuring GPS technology and a tracking App, SecureME allows parents to track their children's whereabouts on their mobile devices.

The necklaces and bracelets are fully customisable with a selection of charms and trinkets to suit a range of budgets and tastes – so that safety can always be stylish and fun.

Each accessory has a discreet panic button, so that in emergencies an alert can be issued and help called.

The technology can also be applied to existing pieces, so that items of sentimental or financial value can be safeguarded.

SecureME won the E-commerce and Retail category and Think BIG BIG Three (First) prizes. 

U Future founders - Tao Ma, Jia Jia and Bailing Wang
U Future Tao Ma With Jia Jia and Bailing Wang

U Future will support international students looking for internships and work in the UK.

Students will be able to access all of the support and information they need for free on U Future’s website and related social media channels – Facebook, Twitter and WeChat.

As well as current internship and employment listings, U Future will offer advice on how to succeed in the job market from application to interview and beyond.

The company’s free resources will be funded by paid services, including help with the application process, an accommodation search, and online interview training.

Working in partnerships with overseas education consultancies, U Future will build an international raft of clients – students from across the globe keen to gain invaluable work experience in the UK.