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London's universities say ‘OpenSME’ to new support for capital's small businesses

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.

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Two UCL teams make the UK final of the China-UK Entrepreneurship Challenge

1 July 2013

China UK Challenge

Two teams from UCL have made it to the UK final of this year’s China-UK Entrepreneurship Challenge, taking place this year on the 9th July at the Bank of China.

The teams – Biobean, which aims to recycle used coffee beans into biofuels and Sellplex, which enables users to list items they have for sale across multiple platforms like eBay and Amazon rather than separately – were selected during a day of pitches to a panel of judges at Lancaster University Business School. The two teams make up two of the four who have been selected for the international final.

The Challenge – run by UCL and a consortium of academic and trade body partners – aims to encourage new business links between the UK and China and is intended to provide participants with the resources to facilitate investment from venture capitalists and other potential investors.

In the international final the teams will be competing for a £12,000 cash prize as well as a potential offer of free workspace for a year courtesy of the University of East London, as well as an investment opportunity of up to £250,000 for the best business plan.

The two UCL teams have already been closely supported by the university’s centre for entrepreneurship, UCL Advances, and were Bright Idea Award winners at this year’s UCL Awards for Enterprise, having been awarded start-up funding to get their business proposals off the ground.

“That teams from UCL are making up half the finalists in the Challenge is testament to the strength of both the business ideas coming out of our institution and the steps we’ve taken to support their growth,” said Gups Jagpal, Deputy Director of UCL Advances. “Both are worthy contenders for the final and have the potential to be strong, high-growth businesses, so this is an excellent achievement.”