Simon Lyons scoops third consecutive Santander Universities Entrepreneurship Award for Loughborough University
Simon, who graduated from Loughborough with first-class honours in 2013, follows in the footsteps of Ross Kemp (Asap Water Crafts) and Laurence Kemball Cook (Pavegen), who respectively won third and first place in 2013 and 2012.
The Awards, funded by the Santander Universities Global Division, aim to support and encourage university students to pursue their business ideas. The competition is open to students from all 72 UK universities that partner the Santander Universities Global Division. Loughborough is the only partner university to be placed among the prizes for three consecutive years.
Simon pitched Version 22 – which is supported by the Studio, Loughborough’s graduate commercialisation hub – to a panel of judges at Santander UK’s headquarters in London’s Triton Square. Santander UK’s CEO, Ana Botin, presented him with the top undergraduate prize of £5,000. Simon will use the funds to support the manufacture of Geco Hub, an innovative storage system that can be installed anywhere in minutes, without screw fixings.
Geco Hub is a unique and stylish way to look after the everyday items we often lose. According to a national survey1, we spend ten minutes every day rummaging for up to nine lost things, with mobile phones, car keys and important paperwork being the most common.
Simon began work on Geco Hub as part of his degree at Loughborough and has won a number of accolades including success in the Royal Academy of Engineering’s Innovation Hothouse Competition, a Shell LIVEwire Grand Ideas Award, a James Dyson Foundation Bursary, as well as the University’s Think BIG! Business Plan Competition.
The Santander Award comes at a very exciting time for Simon, who will launch a Kickstarter campaign for Geco Hub on 29 July.
"I am so pleased to be recognised through the Santander Universities Entrepreneurship Awards,” said Simon. “Getting such a great reaction from the judges has inspired me to drive my business forward by pursuing key markets for Geco Hub and the other products I am developing.”
Professor Steve Rothberg, Loughborough’s Pro Vice Chancellor (Enterprise) said: “Simon is an outstanding ambassador for graduate enterprise. We’re delighted to have been able to support his business in its early stages through the Studio and he fully deserves the tremendous success that he has achieved. I look forward to Version 22 being a household name.”
1 Survey commissioned by eSure
Notes for editors
Press release reference number: PR 14/134
About the Studio
The Studio provides access to the resources, expertise and knowledge to help Loughborough graduates develop sustainable businesses. To date, the Studio has supported 27 businesses, 18 of which are now registered and 16 are trading, creating 5 permanent jobs. Studio companies have won 36 awards and will turnover an estimated £200K this year. A royalty agreement means its members pay a percentage of their sales turnover when they start trading, which long-term, means the Studio will become self-sufficient.
About Loughborough University
Loughborough is one of the country’s leading universities, with an international reputation for research that matters, excellence in teaching, strong links with industry, and unrivalled achievement in sport and its underpinning academic disciplines.
It was awarded the coveted Sunday Times University of the Year title in 2008-09 and has been named Sports University of the Year 2013-14 by The Times and Sunday Times. Loughborough is consistently ranked in the top twenty of UK universities in the Times Higher Education’s ‘table of tables’ and has been voted England's Best Student Experience for six years running in the Times Higher Education league. In recognition of its contribution to the sector, Loughborough has been awarded seven Queen's Anniversary Prizes.
In 2015 the University will open an additional academic campus in London’s new innovation quarter. Loughborough University in London, based on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, will offer postgraduate and executive-level education, as well as research and enterprise opportunities.