UCL has been hailed as a “shining example” for supporting student entrepreneurs by the Guardian in an article about whether universities are doing enough to help students start new businesses.
Winners of London Entrepreneur’s challenge storm to victory
17 December 2012
Seven companies run by undergraduate and postgraduate students across London and alumni from some of the capital’s most prestigious institutions have been announced as winners of the 2012 London Entrepreneur’s Challenge.
The Challenge – which is in its eleventh year – is open to students and alumni from UCL, SOAS, the Royal Veterinary College, Birkbeck and the London Business School, and was the brainchild of Director of UCL Advances Timothy Barnes. In three categories – undergraduates, postgraduates and alumni – a total of £26,000 worth of prizes were awarded - three first prizes of £5,000, three runner up prizes of £3,000, and one Provost’s prize of £2,000.
In the undergraduate category, surgical training company Disepra won the first prize, led by member of the Team GB rowing team Cameron Nichol. The company is a training organisation aiming to globally revolutionise the way laparoscopic appendectomies are taught.
Runner-up in the category was African market research company Index Africana, led by UCL Chemical engineering student Wisdom Uzor, which extracts information on consumer behaviours and demographics in Africa through the use of mobile technology.
In the post-graduate category, UCL Mathematics and Physics PhD candidate Hywel Carver – along with his business partner Sam Jewell – were the winners with their company Matopy, a software company which creates audio versions of websites, making it possible to listen to and navigate around large amounts of content online, with especial benefits for blind and visually impaired people.
Runner-up SellPlex solves the problems of sellers having to load their items multiple times on multiple platforms, by providing sellers with the ability to load on multiple platforms (eBay, Amazon, Gumtree, Facebook Marketplace etc.) simultaneously and with minimal effort. The team included Ahmad Bakhiet, former President of the UCL Entrepreneurs Society.
In the alumni category, mobile app Apposite, submitted by company Blue Ronin, took first prize with its innovative solution to the problem of abortive work and wasted time on construction sites due to out of date and out of synch drawings. Team member Alex Siljanovski graduated from UCL’s MSc Technology Entrepreneurship this year.
It was another graduate of the MSc Technology Entrepreneurship programme, Tayab Hasan, who was runner up in the alumni category with RehenSehen, an online platform where home seekers can browse properties as and when they come on the market in Pakistan.
Finally, the Provost’s Prize was awarded to Photosynthesis, a lightweight, innovative photo printer that clips on to the back of a mobile phone and prints wirelessly. The accompanying mobile app enables users to customise and upload photos for real-time viewing. The team of four behind the company was led by Madison Salters of SOAS.
“The standard of the competition was so high that we awarded nearly double the usual value of prizes,” said Timothy Barnes, Director of UCL Advances. “It was especially great to see so many students and alumni from UCL, especially those from our MSc Technology Entrepreneurship programme, winning prizes.”