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Brace of business awards for DMU graduates and staff


Graduates and staff at De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) are celebrating after winning two business awards.

The Crucible, DMU’s flagship business support programme, and, which is one of the companies on The Crucible this year, both collected the accolades at this year’s Niche Business Awards on Friday.

The Crucible won the Educational Excellence category which aimed to reward those which support young people’s growth in society. The award recognised its work to help graduates and alumni who either have their own businesses or need help turning their ideas into reality.

Crucible wins
Crucible leader Percy Emmett with graduates Roshni Desai and Liga Orlovska

Crucible members Roshni Desai, who last week showcased her latest collections at London Fashion Week, and Liga Orlovska, whose company Honey Craft aims to connect more people with nature, collected the award with Crucible leader, enterprise lecturer Percy Emmett.

He said: “I’m so proud of all the members of the Crucible. What we are trying to create is a community of entrepreneurs. Members should feel part of a family, and part of Leicester’s entrepreneurial culture.

“Where Crucible is different is that we focus on the individual, not the business. You can get “how to start your business” advice anywhere but what we do is give them the confidence to be able to run a business. It’s about their personal journey as much as it is business development. We build confidence and resilience by imparting the knowledge and the skills they need to know.

“To have this recognised by the business community in Leicester is a tremendous endorsement of the work we do.”

Heal Med with their award

HEAL.Med helps children with Type 1 diabetes to manage their condition through a fun app, providing education and training to manage the diagnosis to hospitals as well as patients.

It is run by Dr James Greening, the lead children’s consultant at Leicester Royal Infirmary; Sarah Lockwood Lee, head of operations and education, and designer Lee Paxman Clarke, who is a senior research fellow at DMU’s Design Unit.

Mr Paxman-Clarke said: “It is very humbling for the team to win the Digital Business award at the Niche Business Awards. We are a small team of healthcare professionals and researchers that are working to keep Deapp - The Diabetes Education App, operational and growing for the benefit of newly diagnosed children and young people with Type-1 diabetes.

“It was completely unexpected and we were just happy to be there. The team has put a lot of effort on the project, most of us working on the project outside our regular work commitments. Our mission as a not-for-profit is to deliver high quality diabetes education to every patient and family that needs it.

“What makes what we do so special is that we have broken down a complex diagnosis into easy to understand videos that can be used to teach about type-1 diabetes with the support of a Healthcare Professional that we have trained. It is amazing to see that other people are starting to recognise for its hard work and success.”

The project was spun out from the NHS into our not-for-profit organisation to ensure the longevity of Deapp and the team was lucky to be part of DMU’s business support programme, the Crucible Project, who helped support the team and helped us get going during the pandemic. is a member of Medilink East Midlands and Social Enterprise UK who have also helped support the business.  More than 550 people attended the ceremony held at Leicester’s Athena venue, which is organised by the team behind Niche Magazine, a bi-monthly business and lifestyle magazine. This year’s event was hosted by BBC sports presenter Ian Stringer and all ticket sale money was donated to the Shama Women’s Centre in Highfields, which was named Charity of the Year. 

Judges were Rik Pancholi, director of Pattersons Commercial Law; Amanda Daly, managing director of Turnaround CEO; business consultant Ian Guyler; communications expert George Oliver; Jennifer Thomas, development manager at the Federation of Small Businesses; Jaz Kaur, director at Fraser Stretton; Leanne Bonner-Cooke MBE of e-Bate; and Rajesh Modha of Tilton Conway.

Jenny Cross, editor of Niche Magazine, said: "They are both deserving winners. Judges said had made an amazing use of digital to break into medicine and education. The Crucible won the Educational Excellence award as they continue to help budding entrepreneurs to make a mark in the buisness world."

The Crucible was launched in 2015 to help graduates get their businesses off the ground with a 12-month business bootcamp. Since then it has helped dozens of graduates on their entrepreneurial journey.
In the three years to 2020, businesses who were on The Crucible secured £472,000 investment in their companies. So far 60 companies have gone through the process.


Posted on Tuesday 28th September 2021

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