Water-way to go! Student scoops £1,000 with brilliant business idea

A Master’s student has won herself £1,000 to launch her new business after being crowned the winner of this year’s Pitch2Win.

INSET pitch winner

The competition challenges entrepreneurial students to come up with a business idea which they can pitch in just three minutes. Pitch2Win is just one of the activities organised by DMU’s Enterprise Team.

And Chanelle Pal’s idea Waterwheels was judged the best of the pitches at this year’s finals, held at the Innovation Centre in front of an audience of business owners, lecturers and DMU’s own Enterprise team.

Waterwheels will sell bottled water for £1 outside clubs and late-night bars, helping revellers stay hydrated, avoid hangovers and less drunk. Chanelle said often long queues at the bar and high prices deterred people from buying water inside many venues.

Chanelle, who is studying MA Digital Design, said: “Bars are crowded places and people often want a drink of water but the queue is really long and a bottle of water can cost between £2 and £4. There’s not many places close by to clubs and bars where you can buy water at the time they close, either. My idea is to have a branded van which sells water outside at closing time so they can hydrate themselves and I’m also looking at an app so people can pre-pay, so they know they can have water even if they’ve run out of money.”

Chanelle is planning to launch Water Wheels at Freshers’ Week in September, and is working with De Montfort Students’ Union (DSU) on the campaign. She plans to develop the app and website.

She said: “I could not believe that I won! I was so nervous doing this pitch and it was really nerve-wracking, but it has been great experience. I’m so pleased and I had great support from my tutor Pinky Bazaz in Digital Design.”

Every student in the final had already won £250 start-up cash after being picked as the winner of earlier rounds and had the chance to compete for the £1,000 star prize.

INSET pitch finalists

Runners-up were Viktorija Rudenia, a Fashion MA, who was pitching her luxury lingerie brand, called Viktorija Rudenia London.

A big focus of her company will be eco friendly, sustainable fabrics. She said: “All fabric waste will be recycled and spun back into yarns. This way the brand fully takes responsibility of its actions towards the environment and will minimize its waste as much as possible.”

Jen Pyrah, who graduated in 2013, pitched jewellery business Wren & Wilson, while Business Management students Ed Ventris and Nathan Groves came up with UniStay, a promotional website to help students find somewhere for family and friends to stay when they come to visit.

Jen said: “The actual presentation was a lot less scary than I thought it was going to be. I’d spent the week before preparing what I was going to say and timed myself talking as you only get three minutes to give the presentation!  It was nice to take my business, which I know so well but is quite personal to me as I work on my own from home, and then take it to three strangers and bare all!”

Nathan said: “Pitch2Win has been a positive experience. We know that students struggle to find somewhere for their family and friends which they know is affordable and good.”

Amy Maher is the Manager of DMUs Enterprise Team, which runs a whole host of activities to support students to bring their business ideas to market. She and her team help 1,000 students a year with mentoring, business advice and development programmes.

She said: “This year we had a real variety of different business ideas and the standard of the finalists pitches was extremely high, so the audience had a tough time choosing a winner.  All of the finalists have great ideas and the Pitch2Win final provided a perfect platform for them to showcase and promote what they are looking to do’."

Posted on Wednesday 31st May 2017

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