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Enterprising students pitch in to win DMU business cash

A children’s handmade knitwear range, an educational board game on diabetes and a social fashion discovery website were just some of the student business ideas to secure financial backing as part of a De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) enterprise contest, staged this week.

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Students from a variety of DMU undergraduate and postgraduate courses earned £250 seedcorn investment after eight enterprise plans were presented to the Pitch2Win judges, on Wednesday (24 June), under the university’s Campus Enterprise Opportunities initiative held at the DMU Innovation Centre.

Five ideas for new products and services particularly impressed a panel of university business experts at the final of the competition launched to promote and encourage students with unique, imaginative and creative business ideas.

Roberto Palomo, a final year Journalism, Media and Communications student from Portugal, is building a communications business, ‘Bienvenidos a Leicester’, aimed at helping Spanish and Italian speaking DMU students feel more at home in Leicester.

His business plan includes developing an online resource to provide help with finding accommodation, getting to know the area and developing business ideas. Roberto is also working on a weekly radio broadcast and digital newspaper.

Roberto was thrilled to be one of the winners: “The money is nice but I’m more excited by how this shows people trust what I’m doing; it tells me my business idea is viable and this will give me the confidence to carry on and work even harder,” he said.

Another winner was Victoria Ganusceac, a final year Buying and Marketing student with a passion for fashion, retail and succeeding in business. The budding entrepreneur, who spent the first 11 years of her life in Moldova, has grand designs for ‘Muusa’, an app that seeks to recreate the High Street shopping experience online by using music playlists to help personalise the process of browsing fashion websites.

“This is fantastic news and the funding will help me attend London fashion events, build my business network and also go towards buying some software I’m going to need.”

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PASSION FOR FASHION: Final year Buying and Marketing student Victoria Ganusceac

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Catherine Clare is doing a master’s in Fashion and Textiles but she’s also found time to launch a children’s knitwear brand called ‘Labels with Love.’ Sourcing all her materials from local suppliers, Catherine’s business produces sustainable hand knitted garments for two to six-year-olds. Each garment has a unique label detailing the supplier, as well as where and how it was made.

“I am going to invest the £250 in yarn supplies so I can create a range of garments for my website (currently under construction) and start up the marketing of the brand,” said a delighted Catherine.

“Being successful under Pitch2Win means I can now begin to get my brand off the ground and send it out into the world.”

“Overall, the judges were impressed with the variety of ideas at Pitch2Win,” said CEO’s Stacey Simpson.

“The students who were awarded £250 pitched business ideas that were both viable and achievable in today’s market. We were also impressed with the quality of the pitches – they were prepared for questions and passionate about their ideas.”

Fellow judge Stuart Marriott, Employment Development Manager within the DMU Careers and Employability team, said: “The main barrier facing start-up businesses is funding and although £250 may not sound a huge amount, these Pitch2Win prizes will certainly make a difference and help graduate talent get their new business ideas up and running.

“Our commitment to promoting student entrepreneurship at DMU can also be seen in the more than £3,000 worth of cash prizes and business start-up support that went to students and graduates who entered our annual Business Venture Competition, in April,” he added.

“The CEO also offers one-to-one start-up surgeries every Tuesday and Thursday afternoon which complement the DMU Crucible Project.”

Any student or graduate interested in starting a business or becoming self-employed can book a 20-minute appointment at a surgery through MyGateway.

Also on offer is a three-week enterprise programme run by the CEO as part of the DMU Graduate Champions scheme. The programme presents a series of workshops and challenges for those wanting to learn more about self-employment.

Here’s the full line-up of this week’s Pitch2Win winners:

Catherine Clare
Handmade and sustainable children’s knitwear range with high ethical values

Roberto Palomo
Online resources for the Spanish and Italian communities of Leicester

Vikesh Mistry
Incentivised student attendance system, using gamification technology

Diabetes Busters (Neha Rana, Shruti Mandoda, Lin Pan and Zainab Ali)
Diabetes educational board game

Victoria Ganuscea

Muusa - a social fashion discovery website.

Posted on Friday 26th June 2015

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