A group of London's universities are launching a new collaboration – OpenSME – that seeks to make it easier for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to access the expertise and knowledge they offer.
Team of UCL undergraduates goes for monster hit with launch of new discount card
2 October 2012
A team of four UCL undergraduates are launching a new discount card, the Monstercard, in London to enable students to take a chunk out of the capital’s spiralling living costs.
UCL undergraduates Alex Emms, 20, Jonny Manfield, 19, Finnegan Harries, 19, and Gameli Ladzekpo, 19, the team behind Monstercard, met in their first year at UCL and became friends through their shared love of entrepreneurship.
Coinciding with Fresher’s Weeks at universities and colleges around the capital, 15,000 Monstercards will be up for grabs at Kings College, UCL and University of London freshers. The card enables a variety of discounts on food, drinks and other student essentials like shopping, travel and student lifestyle.
The card is being launched on the back of the success of the team’s Thirstpass, a similar card which enabled students at UCL to gain discounts on food and drinks at a variety of outlets around the university’s Bloomsbury campus, including Patisserie Valerie, Coffee Republic and Crussh.
Thirstpass – initially financed with just over £1000 of Alex and Jonny’s own money – was an immediate hit, with the team distributing over five thousand to students as part of a three month trial which ended in June this year.
Following their success, and encouraged by student business advisor Lillian Shapiro, the team applied for and were successful in being awarded a Bright Ideas Award from UCL Advances, the university’s centre for entrepreneurship.
The Award – a low-interest loan of £12,000 – has been ploughed into launching the Monstercard, which builds of the lessons learned from Thirstpass and will enable a roll out across the capital almost three times the size of the pilot.
Talking about the launch of Monstercard, Alex Emms, one of the co-founders, said:
“The strength of our trial and the amazing backing we’ve had from the team at UCL Advances has got us where we are today with the launch of Monstercard.
“It’s hugely exciting for all of us to be launching our business while still studying, and especially a product which will really enhance the experience of our fellow students.”
Timothy Barnes, the Director of UCL Advances, added:
“Students are increasingly looking to develop their business skills and pursue entrepreneurship while studying, and it is vital that universities offer support so that they can. This means offering business advice, mentoring and funding to the strongest businesses – and Monstercard is definitely one of them.”
“Monstercard is a tremendously exciting business, launched by some of the best of UCL’s undergraduate student talent – their potential is why they very deservedly won a Bright Ideas Award earlier this year to take their business to the next level.”