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6 June 2006 PR 06/59

Students reveal winning business ideas

Seven of the region’s most enterprising students have been awarded cash prizes after winning a student business planning competition with their innovative business ideas.

Left to right - All winners: Daniel Currin, Nick Gilbert, James Lock, Mayor & Mayoress of Charnwood,
Joel Pegram, Kieran Bucknall, Mark Grubb, Ross Haddow

In addition to its own annual student competition, Loughborough University hosted this year’s Regional Student Business Plan Competition, inviting students from universities across the East Midlands to develop a business idea and produce a business plan to demonstrate its potential as a financially successful new enterprise. Both competitions aim to encourage and support students in the area of small business planning.

From an impressive 55 entries for the regional competition, the most commercially-promising proposals were selected by a panel of regional judges, and the winners were revealed at a special award ceremony at Holywell Park, Loughborough.

The first prize of £3000 was awarded to Ross Haddow of Nottingham Trent University, for his business idea to develop an environmentally-friendly power shower.

Mark Grubb of the University of Nottingham won the second prize of £2000 for his proposal to exploit novel optical heart rate sensing technology to reduce morbidity in new born babies and aid health self-monitoring.

The third place prize of £1000 was awarded to a team of two Loughborough University students, Joel Pegram and Kieran Bucknall, who plan to pioneer the implementation of affordable smart home technologies in new homes.

Mayor of Charnwood, Councillor Ken Pacey and Mayoress, Mrs Maureen Pacey, joined the Awards Night celebrations, demonstrating their continued support for student enterprise and innovation in the region. Representatives from local businesses and regional development organisations also gathered at the event to learn more about the students’ winning business ideas. After a welcome by Professor Shirley Pearce, Vice-Chancellor at Loughborough University, guests enjoyed an inspirational talk by Dr Mike Caine of Progressive Sports Technologies, who shared his personal story of how he developed from a Loughborough student to a successful serial innovator.

The winners of Loughborough University’s own annual student business plan competition were also revealed at the Awards Night. Daniel Currin, a Design and Technology undergraduate, scooped the first prize for developing a range of products that can illuminate balloons, to be used for decoration, entertainment, and promotional purposes.

Nick Gilbert, a Geography and Business student, won second prize for Fresher’s Flu, a student-run marketing company focusing on innovative, practical and fun advertising products solely devoted to the student population. James Lock, a Civil & Building Engineering student took third place for developing a new sports brand, Zuma, aimed at competitive swimmers, runners and cyclists.

“We were delighted to host this important Awards Night to celebrate the achievements of all of the students who took part in these competitions,” says Marina Pickles, Student Enterprise Manager at Loughborough University. “All of the finalists developed plans that show real potential to start-up a successful new enterprise that may ultimately aid regional wealth creation.”

The Awards Night was sponsored by imago, Loughborough University’s premier location for conferences and events and AstraZeneca &D Charnwood, Loughborough’s medicines research company.

ENDS

For further information contact:

Notes to editors

  1. High resolution images of prize winning students are available. Please contact Gemma Pendleton, G.L.Pendleton@lboro.ac.uk
  2. The regional competition was open to all students (undergraduates and postgraduates) from the following East Midlands universities and associated colleges: Bishop Grosseteste College Lincoln, De Montfort University, University of Derby, University of Leicester, University of Lincoln, Loughborough University, The University of Northampton, Nottingham Trent University, and the University of Nottingham.
  3. The regional student business planning competition was developed by emsen, the East Midlands Science Enterprise Network. It is currently in its third year.
  4. The Loughborough University student business planning competition has been running for four years.
  5. 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 it in the top flight of UK universities; the National Student Survey ranked Loughborough equal first among full-time students; and industry highlights the University in its top five for graduate recruitment. Around 40% of Loughborough’s income is for research, and 60% for teaching. The University has been awarded five 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; for its world-leading role in sports research, education and development; and for its outstanding work in evaluating and helping to develop social policy-related programmes.

    In 2006 Loughborough celebrates the 40th anniversary of its University Charter, awarded on 19 April 1966 in recognition of the excellence achieved by Loughborough College of Advanced Technology and its predecessor Colleges. Loughborough University of Technology was renamed Loughborough University in 1996.

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