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Student entrepreneurs compete for £1,000 prize in pitching competition

Student entrepreneurs will find out who has won a £1,000 star prize tonight in the finals of a university-wide contest to find the best start-up idea.

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The Pitch2Win finals will be held at De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) with guests from Leicestershire companies, business mentors and staff from DMU’s range of business support services.

All six  finalists earned their place after winning the monthly pitching events run at the university which netted them £250.

Each will have just a few minutes to make their pitch and the winner will be decided through an audience vote..

Amy Maher is project manager for the Enterprise Team  which provides support and advice to enterprising students and graduates

She said: “This year we will be showcasing the talent at DMU and our speakers will be former students who are now running their own successful businesses.

“We have Kieza de Sousa, who runs Wear Your Heart Out T-shirt printing, and Derry Holt from Stormburst Studios, who 12 months ago was right here at the  competition and has gone from strength to strength.”

Pitch2Win is sponsored by Sir Thomas White Loan Charity, Smith Partnership, Young Enterprise and Incrementa.  

The finalists are:

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Emma-Jane Rule Silversmith

Emma-Jane is a Design Crafts graduate who discovered a love and talent for silversmithing while at DMU. After graduating with a First Class degree, she has since gone on to win numerous awards for her work including the prestigious Contemporary British Silversmiths Designing Silver Award at New Designers, the UK’s biggest graduate talent showcase.

In her workshop in Kirby Muxloe, she designs and creates her pieces using fold-forming, an under-used technique which delivers a sculptural, 3D effect.

She won silver at the Goldsmiths Council Craft and Design Awards in February and has won a graduate bursary from Goldsmiths to exhibit at its upcoming design festival.

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Eden Queen

Mohammed Omar, a final year Pharmaceutical and Cosmetic Science student launched his raw honey business Eden Queen in June 2014.

He now supplies 32 shops in Leicestershire including delis, smaller shops and supermarkets with jars of his raw honey, processed in the city. He works with beekeepers across Leicestershire who supply him with honey.

Mohammed has been able to use his PCS degree to test the honey for its properties. He came up with the idea because as a hayfever sufferer he was looking for local honey to treat the condition.

“Winning the Pitch2Win would be like a stepping stone for my business.  I know the health benefits that raw honey has compared to processed honey and I want to take Eden Queen and develop a range of premium honeys.”

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Auspicious Moments

Accounting and Finance student Khushboo Raja spotted a gap in the market for hand-crafted wedding and events invitations specifically for the South Asian market. Her research showed that 75-80% of the Asian population in Leicester travelled to India for the invitations which are bespoke, hand-crafted and intricate. “No-one in the UK does this at the moment. There are lots of invitation cards but the USP is that these are bespoke and the price point is comparable to the cost of production in India.”

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E-Car Specialist

Lewis Black, a Finance student, got the idea for his company after his father was in the market for an electric car and found there were no small or medium car dealerships. “The idea just sparked from there,” he said. “I thought there must be a gap in the market for people who want to buy used or nearly new electric cars and the E-Car Specialist solves this problem.
“My dad was into classic cars so I grew up with cars. There are lots of people who are getting interested in the electric route like my dad and there are no small dealerships who can answer their questions and help.”

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The UniYap

First year computer science student Dominic Bryan’s idea is the UniYap, which helps students connect online. He got the idea after realising that it would be a good way to meet people in his lectures and those studying the same modules. “Each module or course has its own channel, and societies have their own channel so you can talk and meet people online before meeting them in person. With WhatsApp and similar you need to know their phone number  - this is about connecting with people you have not met and do not know yet.”



Pharmaceutical and Cosmetic Science student Jessica Okoro was named October's winner after successfully pitching her business BeScience, a pioneering movement which creatively explores STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics) subjects with programs including Creative KidsLAB, LibraryLab and STEM Juniors.

Posted on Tuesday 26th April 2016

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