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29 June 2011 | PR 11/82

Enterprising students win Loughborough University business plan awards


Some of the finalists of the 2011 Student Business Plan competition with Loughborough University Vice Chancellor Shirley Pearce

Young entrepreneurs from Loughborough University have been honoured for their exciting and innovative plans to build new businesses.

The 2011 Student and Graduate Business Plan Competition recognised 13 enterprising students and graduates from the University whose commercial ventures are already creating a buzz in fields as diverse as decorative glass, eco car wash and women’s football.

Around 80 guests gathered at the Henry Ford College at the University for the annual event to reveal the competition’s winners.

First prize of £3,000 went to Michael Fairhurst, Ben Thompson and Simon Hayman, founders of Vykon Solutions.

Vykon aims to design and build bespoke web-based database management systems for professional sports clubs in the UK. The Vykon Solutions team, who are all in their 3rd year, also won the £1,000 Harvey Ingram Prize for Entrepreneurship.

Second prize of £2,000 went to decorative glass designer and School of the Arts graduate Emma Britton whose signature panels are inspired by British suburbia. Emma also won The Gill Cooke Award of £500.

Third prize of £1,000 was won by Business and Economics graduate Tom Unsworth whose dining card – My Restaurant Card – already provides diners with discounts at 150 London restaurants.

Highly commended awards of £500 went to Edward Williams for The Arrogance – a student promotional “pack” distributed to 3,000 student homes – and Ryan Bakewell and David Ferguson for NestEgg – a novel gift to celebrate the birth of a child.

NestEgg won three awards in all, also picking up the Potter Clarkson Prize for Innovation and Intellectual Property Potential and The Marketest Award for Market Potential.

The Santander Universities Award for Undergraduate Student Enterprise of £500 went to Babatunde Sobola for Green Heart Wash - an eco-friendly carwash, using a waterless solution to clean and polish cars at the same time.

The Santander Universities Award for Postgraduate Student Enterprise of £500  was awarded to Anika Leslie-Walker for ladies sporting brand ALK Sports - leisure wear specifically designed for the women’s football fan.

Guest speaker at the event was ethical travel company i-to-i-com founder Deidre Bounds, the Woman of Achievement in Yorkshire 2010 and a regular commentator on BBC Radio 2 and 5 Live.

Loughborough University Student Enterprise Manager Marina Pickles said: “Loughborough University students never cease to amaze me with their entrepreneurial spirit, innovative ideas and determination to succeed. I wish all our winners every success with their businesses.’’

Loughborough University Pro Vice Chancellor for Enterprise Professor Phill Dickens also paid tribute to the finalists, saying:  “Loughborough University works hard to promote a culture of enterprise on campus. These new business ideas are worthy award winners and we look forward to watching them flourish and grow.’’

For further information about the winners, go to: www.enterpriselufbra.co.uk


For all media enquiries contact:

Sarah Hall
Marketing and Communications Officer
Loughborough University
T: 01509 228684
E: S.Hall@lboro.ac.uk 

Notes for editors:

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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