Chester students secure startup funding

Chester students secure startup funding

Entrepreneurial students and graduates from the University of Chester have secured funding, courtesy of Santander Universities UK, to set up their own businesses.

The Accelerate project forms part of the University’s Venture Programme, which aims to support budding entrepreneurs. The programme equips students and graduates with the skills and knowledge to start up a business and develop their entrepreneurial capacity under three themes.

Venture gives students the opportunity to create a business idea and collaborate with business professionals to ‘accelerate’ it into reality.

The ‘Pitch 2016’ event encouraged applicants to put their new-found knowledge to the test. They were asked to submit a 500-word business summary in advance and to create a 60 second video pitch. Shortlisted participants were invited to bid for start-up funding and many business support prizes.

Judged by John Farrell, Ellis & Co.; Emma Woollard, The Language Guys; Jill Reece, Santander and Dr Kate Daubney, Careers and Employability, participants were asked to deliver a five-minute pitch, outlining their business idea and model. Following nine pitches, five businesses were successful in receiving cash-funding, courtesy of Santander.

  • Eli Mitchell, a final year Business Studies student, was awarded £1,200 for his business ‘LoveChester’. LoveChester will create a portfolio of discounts for students specifically within independent and local businesses.
  • Andrew Butler and Kevin Johnson, both final year Computer Science students, were awarded £1,200 for ‘ELiPTech 360’, a web agency specialising in 360 degree virtual tours, to improve the online presence of businesses.
  • Cindrella Chikombe, a final year Adult Nursing student, was awarded £1,000 for her company ‘CiNa Foods’, an authentic spiced meat company which will specialise in the production of South African sausages, burgers, minced meat and meatballs.
  • Murray King, a second year International Business student, was awarded £1,000 to develop his idea for ‘Resolade’, a low calorie exothermic drink. Resolade’s main vision is to use a percentage of its profits to provide hats, coats, gloves, shelter and heat to the people across the world who need them most.
  • James Duckett, who has just completed his PGCE Secondary in Computer Science, was awarded £600 for the ‘Memmori’ app. This will allow users the opportunity to build their own digital legacy by memorising personal journal entries, photos, videos and links to existing social media content, to ‘change the way we remember our loved ones’.
    • Kirsty Badrock, the University’s entrepreneurship co-ordinator, said: “Accelerate showcased a tremendous amount of entrepreneurial spirit. The dedication and enthusiasm of those who took part was evident, and the innovative business ideas sparked real interest with the judges who saw potential in everyone. We are incredibly grateful to all of our partners, who have contributed to this comprehensive programme of support.”

      The initiative launched in late 2015, offering 16 weekly workshops over the course of the academic year, and has been shortlisted this year for the Entrepreneurship Award at the AGCAS (Association of Graduate Careers Advisory Services) Awards for Excellence.

      Kirsty added: “I’m absolutely delighted that the Venture Programme has been nominated for this prestigious award and has been recognised for its innovative approach to entrepreneurship education.

      The programme encourages students to consider new venture creation and self-employment as valid graduate career paths. This is particularly important in the University of Chester context, where many students choose courses which naturally lend themselves to this career path.”

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