The best business ideas of De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) staff, students and graduates were awarded start-up capital and business support last night at Campus Enterprise Opportunities (CEO)’s Business Venture Competition awards.
The Business Venture Competition, now into its 10th year, rewards the greatest business ideas to help people turn their business ideas into reality.
This year’s competition was hugely competitive from the outset, with 106 business ideas submitted at the first stage before being whittled down to six finalists.
Prize-winners were awarded £1,000 in start-up capital as well as professional business support from local businesses.
The first winner of the evening was final year Performing Arts student Katie Higgins, whose business idea is a creative performing arts company called Elevate Arts.
Katie said: “This is amazing, that’s nearly all of my start-up costs covered already. I’ll have so much more confidence now that I know other people recognise that I can actually do this and hopefully Elevate Arts will be go on and be a success.”
The Innovation and Technology award was given to second year Education Studies student Becky Madeley. Her idea, Becky’s Kitchen, is to design and make occasion cakes for weddings, birthdays and parties and she already had bookings for cakes before winning her award.
Becky said: “I’m just really shocked but also so happy. I can’t wait to get started with the support and this is really going to help develop the business and help it become more widely known. I’m just so grateful to DMU for the opportunity.”
Yasmin Greenaway, who graduated in 2013 with a 2:1 in Politics, was awarded the Business award for Fundvestr, a crowdfunding story to support ethical businesses.
Yasmin said: “I’m so shocked and surprised but really excited thinking about how much my business will grow with support and capital. DMU is amazing for supporting businesses like this.”
There was an additional award which was voted for on the night by the audience, given to the best individual pitch.
This was award to Derry Holt and James Heath for their pitch on Stormburst Studios, their video games development company which saw them collect £250 to help with their business.
The 10th annual ceremony took place at DMU’s Innovation Centre, with Jim Cregan of Jimmy’s Iced Coffee as the keynote speaker.
Jimmy’s Iced Coffee is the brainchild of Jim, who during a trip to Australia in 2008 discovered iced coffee and developed his own product when he returned to the UK. Despite launching only four years ago, their turnover has already surpassed £1 million.
Jim said: “I was contacted and asked to do a keynote speech which is meant to be quite light-hearted, telling the story of how we got to where we are to hopefully inspire these young business people.
“I would say to anyone with a business idea just crack on and keep your chin up whatever happens. Everything is a bit of a risk when you’re starting out and it’s about being able to separate what is fact against what your gut is telling you to do.”
Posted on Wednesday 29th April 2015