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21 June 2011 | PR 11/76

Engineering YES IDs entrepreneurs of the future

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Grey Matter (Loughborough University): Jouni Ronkainen, David Rogers, Guy Banwell, Henry Hanson, Andrea Vinet

A team of students from Loughborough University have shown exceptional business acumen to finish second at Engineering YES, a national competition designed to unearth engineering entrepreneurs of the future. 

Now in its third year, Engineering YES (Young Entrepreneurs Scheme) pits postgraduate research students and post-doctoral researchers from across the country against one another, giving them the skills and knowledge to commercialise their inventions.

Jouni Ronkainen, David Rogers, Guy Banwell, Henry Hanson and Andrea Vinet from Loughborough's Sports Technology Research Group picked up £500 prize money as the Grey Matter team.

This year’s winners were University of Manchester team Pinnacle who claimed the top prize of £2000.

Teams spent three days and nights working on a business plan for an imaginary start-up company before presenting it to a group of investors and industry experts who judge the best bid based on students’ understanding of their market and competitors, demonstration of credible operations and marketing procedures, and a clear appreciation of business finance and investor priorities.

As part of the process, leading industry figures presented workshops on topics including patenting, finance and marketing, and provided one-to-one advice to the young engineers, giving them an exclusive opportunity to learn from experts in their field.

Graham Hopkins, EVP – Engineering & Technology at Rolls-Royce and one of the judges at the final, said:

“Rolls-Royce is pleased to sponsor the Engineering YES 2011 programme. The ability to turn good engineering ideas into a sustainable business proposition is an essential attribute in an ever more competitive world.

“The quality of the finalists was exceptional and the judging panel had a difficult task in agreeing a winner. The opportunity to feed back and ask questions to the knowledgeable and enthusiastic teams was a key aspect of the overall process.”

The competition is organised by the Loughborough University Graduate School in conjunction with the University of Nottingham and the Rotary Club of Loughborough Beacon.

Loughborough University Dean of Engineering Steve Rothberg said:

“Engineering YES is a unique competition which aims to equip researchers and postgraduate students with skills needed to transfer their ideas out of academia and into the business world.

“By introducing participants to key players from within the industry we hope to inspire them to continue their careers in engineering and innovation and unearth their hidden entrepreneur.”

More than 60 researchers representing teams from Loughborough, Nottingham, Manchester, Liverpool and De Montfort universities took part in the competition, which included two regional heats.

The competition has grown year on year and organisers are seeking sponsors and supporters for Engineering YES in 2012. Businesses and individuals interested in getting involved should contact Jo Gilman on j.gilman@lboro.ac.uk  

−ENDS−

For all media enquiries contact:

Amanda Overend
Senior PR Officer
Loughborough University
T: 01509 228697
E: A.J.Overend@lboro.ac.uk 

Notes for editors:

1.  Engineering YES is organised by the Loughborough University Graduate School in conjunction with the University of Nottingham and the Rotary Club of Loughborough Beacon.

The Grand Final was held at Birmingham Science Park on Wednesday 8 June 2011. Engineering YES 2011 received sponsorship from E.ON and Rolls-Royce.

The finalists were as follows:

Winners:
Pinnacle (Manchester University): Michael Conti-Ramsden, Martin Goodfellow, Abdul Al-Rawi, Jon Squire

Runners-up:
Grey Matter (Loughborough University): Jouni Ronkainen, David Rogers, Guy Banwell, Henry Hanson, Andrea Vinet

Best use of IP (intellectual property):
Big Orange (Liverpool University): Jian Fei Yin, Yuan Gao, Huaxia Deng, Yong Peng, Yicheng Zhang, Jianfeng Dong

Other finalists:
SMARTECH (Loughborough University): Elliot Woolley, Yingying Seow, Madhu Sachidananda, Mike Lee, Gyuzyal Kassymzhan.

2.  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 2008-09 title, and is consistently ranked in the top twenty of UK universities in national newspaper league tables. In the 2010 National Student Survey, Loughborough was voted one of the top universities in the UK, and has topped the Times Higher Education league for the UK’s Best Student Experience every year since the poll's inception in 2006. In recognition of its contribution to the sector, the University has been awarded six Queen's Anniversary Prizes.

Loughborough is also the UK’s premier university for sport. It has perhaps the best integrated sports development environment in the world and is home to some of the country’s leading coaches, sports scientists and support staff. It also has the country’s largest concentration of world-class training facilities across a wide range of sports.

It is a member of the 1994 Group of 19 leading research-intensive universities. The Group was established in 1994 to promote excellence in university research and teaching. Each member undertakes diverse and high-quality research, while ensuring excellent levels of teaching and student experience.

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