One of the best things about working for Tech Angels is being able to help run our annual student start-up competition. Building Bright Ideas is a fantastic opportunity for budding start-up founders, covering everything from the roots of an idea to pitching for investment. After a successful beginning, we’re now in the process of expanding the competition to the University of Liverpool.
Last year’s winners from Salford University, Vinejuice, impressed us so much that we entered into talks with them about joining our founder network almost immediately. They’ve been based on our Windsor Works campus for almost a year now, and have seen some great traction. Naturally, our expectations for Salford were high this year – high expectations that were doubled by their Times Higher Education Business School of the Year title.
During the one-to-one proposal feedback sessions, Craig and I had identified quite quickly that we had a talented group of entrants, with a diverse range of ideas. We had a difficult time selecting our final six finalists. The final pitching event was to once again take place at Creative Entrepreneur, now a flagship event for Salford Business School.
The atmosphere on the day was electric – Salford’s packed out MediaCityUK building a hub of activity and discussion, with thought-provoking talks with speakers from across the globe. Most impressive of all was the attitude of all the students we met. There was so much passion for entrepreneurship under one roof. It was great to see some familiar faces from last year, including some of last year’s finalists.
This passion was evidenced most clearly in the outstanding presentations given by our finalists. With only 4 minutes to talk, it’s little more than an elevator pitch in a particularly tall building. Our finalists showcased some excellent presenting skills backed up with some robust proof-of-concept demonstrations and, most convincing of all, very slick marketing.
The panel, made up of University Head of Commercial Services Malcolm Purdie, Senior Business School Lecturer Chris Proctor, Tech Angels Chief Exec. Craig Dean, and Managing Director Craig Kennedy, certainly had a tough time when it came down to selecting three winners for the top prizes of £200, £300 and £1000. After a short deliberation period, we had our winners:
3rd place – Q2 Learning
Jonas impressed us from the start with his extensive background knowledge of his market. With things already in motion in Japan and Brazil, Q2 Learning has a bright future with a passionate and confident founder in Jonas at the helm.
Runner-Up – PrintEat
We loved the freshness of this idea (no pun intended), a company that 3D Prints edible artwork for businesses. The guys behind PrintEat have had great exposure in France with their work with renowned establishments. Wishing them all the success for the future – keep sending us chocolate!
Winner – Gigamagig
Kudos has to go the guys for their well put together presentation, confidently delivered by co-founder Michael Scaife. Gigamagig is a matchmaker app for bands and venues, with a clear ethos and a sound monetisation strategy. Crucially, monetisation involved inserting themselves into the transaction, which tied together an excellent business model; and how about that palindromic name?
We’ll make that £1,000 count! Big thanks to @WAUKTA and @salfordbizsch for having @gigamagig at #CreativeEnt pic.twitter.com/d6DUbHgluy
— Martin Griffiths (@mleegriffiths) November 26, 2015
An incredibly humbling event to take part in and yet another excellent Creative Entrepreneur Event. Our thanks to organiser Alex Fenton and his team, Building Bright Ideas coordinator Justyna Orzechowska and everyone at Salford Careers and Employability, Chris Proctor, Malcolm Purdie, and of course all of our entrants.
If you failed – keep up your drive and be motivated that you learnt something. Don’t forget that 99% of successful entrepreneurs are masters of failure before they get a win.
If you were a winner – great! Don’t get complacent. The real challenge awaits you out there. Stay hungry.