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4 July 2005 PR 05/70

Student competition reveals budding entrepreneurs

Six enterprising students have been given the chance to commercialise their innovative business ideas, after winning prizes in Loughborough University’s Student Business Plan Competition.

An impressive 60 entries were received this year, with students from across the University’s departments battling it out to prove their potential for starting up a financially successful new enterprise. The most commercially promising proposals were selected by a panel of judges, comprising an academic from the University and experienced business professionals from the East Midlands.

Deputy Mayor of Charnwood, Councillor Mike Jones, presented the awards to the winning students at a special ceremony held at Loughborough Innovation Centre.
The first prize of £1,500 was awarded to Euan Masson, a Computer Science finalist, for his proposal to introduce an electronic second-hand book exchange service for students on campus using existing network links.

Xiaobing Hu, a Chevening Scholar from the Department of Aeronautical and Automotive Engineering, won the second prize of £1000 for his idea to produce lightweight energy absorption units for using as resistance elements in fitness equipment, such as multi-gym, rowing machines, exercise bikes and elliptical trainers.

Two third place prizes were awarded to Ross Edgley, a first year undergraduate from the School of Sport and Exercise Science for his proposal to develop ‘Elite Sports Coaches’, a web-based company offering sports-specific exercise programmes and nutritional advice; and to a team of 3 first year undergraduates, Nicola Harwood from the Department of Mathematical Sciences, Rachel O’Nyons from the Department of Social Sciences, and Economics student Nicola Seager, for proposing ‘Zealous’, an on-campus freshly-produced ‘smoothie’ drinks outlet.

The annual competition, organised by Loughborough University Enterprises Ltd (LUEL), aims to encourage and support students in the area of small business planning. In addition to the cash prizes, the winning students will receive support to commercialise their ideas, including mentoring and access to legal, financial and intellectual property advice.

“We are extremely pleased with the number and standard of entries this year. It is particularly encouraging to see entries coming from all faculties within the University,” says Student Enterprise Manager, Marina Pickles. “I look forward to working with the winning students to help them develop these excellent business ideas.”

ENDS

For further information please contact:

Notes to editors

  1. High resolution images of prize winning students with the Deputy Mayor of Charnwood, Councillor Mike Jones, are available. Please contact Gemma Pendleton, G.L.pendleton@lboro.ac.uk
  2. Loughborough has an established reputation for excellence in teaching and research, strong links with industry, and unrivalled sporting achievement. Assessments of teaching quality by the Quality Assurance Agency place Loughborough in the top flight of UK universities, and industry highlights Loughborough in its top five for graduate recruitment. Around 45% of the University’s income is for research. The University has been awarded four Queen’s Anniversary Prizes: for its collaboration with aerospace and automotive companies such as BAE Systems, Ford and Rolls Royce; for its work in developing countries; for pioneering research in optical engineering; and for its world-leading role in sports research, education and development.

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