Entrepreneurial students have been awarded prize money totalling £3,000 to turn their business ideas into reality.
This year’s Pitch2Win competition teamed up with Engineers In Business to find the very best new ideas from De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) students.
Normally students would pitch in person to a team of judges – but with social distancing measures still in place, they had to record a short video outlining their idea and why it should be picked.
The winner was Farès Abida whose company VYBE Music, is building an app that helps Spotify users discover more music based on their real time location, letting them livestream music together for collaborative listening and explore their music taste.
He believes music has the power to create connections between people, forming new friendships and providing a new way for businesses to create and grow their web audio presence.
Farès, who studies MSc Creative Enterprise, said: “People bond over music because it says a lot about who you are. Using this app, people can work out together and train listening to the same music. You can walk past a café or a nightclub and check out the music they are playing.
“We have an idea to create a digital hub, with different rooms paying different kinds of music, and you know that people in the rooms like the same music as you.”
As an international student from France, Farès found music as a way to connect with people and make friends. He runs VYBE Music with fellow students Mykolas Kaminskas, BSc in Software Engineering (2019) and Sangita Ganesh, MA in Design Marketing (2020), he also shared how their help is essential to the success of this project. Their team is currently looking for an extra React Native developer to help them towards the development of the app.
During a DMU Global visit to San Francisco, he was able to make connections at Google and other tech companies which he stays in contact with.
“I really want this to be my job,” he said. “I am finishing my degree now and then the plan is to develop the app before next September. The next step is to do a beta test at DMU with students.
“Winning this competition is a huge step for me and our company. I have been so excited ever since I found out we won.”
For such a huge music fan, Farès says he does not have a favourite artist. He said: “I don’t have a favourite artist. I play music depending on my mood. I think of music as the soundtrack of my life so it really depends what I’m doing or how I’m feeling - it can be anything from French and US rap, UK grime, and hip hop to jazz.”
Second prize went to Sam Flynn, who came up with Hands In
– an app which allows friends to divvy up payments between themselves when making purchases online.
Sam, who studies Business Management and Economics, came up with the idea after realising the hassle involved in chasing your mates for money. He said: “We see this problem all the time from ordering takeaways to purchasing festival tickets and even ordering cabs on a night out.
“This process is often frustrating and results in arguments we are going to change that in fact we are going to make it fun.
“How we work is you shop online as you normally would then once you reach checkout select hands in as your payment method, we will then provide you the ability to add in your mates into the cost of that transaction to split the payment it's that simple.
“There’s nothing else like this out there. DMUworks Enterprise has really helped with advice, I can ask them about anything. They helped me hire student interns who did market research too, they’ve been great.
“Winning £1,000 makes a huge difference it will help us support our next steps with compliance, marketing and development costs.”
The competition was sponsored by the Engineers in Business organisation and all teams had to include a student studying in the Computing, Engineering and Media (CEM) faculty.
Simon Baines, DMU Works Enterprise manager, said that this year’s applications had been particularly strong.
He added: “We were so impressed with the calibre of entries this year. Working with Engineers in Business on this competition presented an ideal opportunity for students to collaborate with fellow students from other faculties and subjects. This is has been fantastic and something we would encourage more students to do.
“Working with DMU’s international office, we will soon be launching a special Pitch2Win competition for our international students, and so I am very much looking forward to seeing even more innovative ideas come through.”
Posted on Thursday 21st May 2020