The University of Nottingham’s annual Student Venture Challenge (SVC) competition final took place recently and for the first time in the competition’s history, the top three winners’ business ideas were all based on the production of a physical product.
The challenge, run by Nottingham University Business School’s Haydn Green Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, asked teams of students to pitch their business ideas to an external panel of judges who selected the top three teams to win a cash prize to enable them to further progress their business. The judges were looking for ideas that demonstrated innovation and inventiveness as well as a genuine need for the product or service.
Product Design and Manufacture student Tom Parker took first prize with his proposal for an eSteady GoPro camera rig. The product enables anyone to create high production value footage across a variety of applications by stabilising motion. It can be used to improve handheld filming or mounted to a moving platform. It can even be attached to a mountain bike to create high quality action footage.
Tom said: “The whole process of the Student Venture Challenge was incredibly useful in helping to critically think about the viability of my proposed business, Motor Reflex. The workshops provided lots of extremely valuable information which I used to for my entry and when creating the final pitch for the judges. As a hardware company, Motor Reflex hopes to establish itself by producing low volumes of products initially, which is made much easier with the generous support received as a result of the SVC, with the aim of entering larger scales of manufacturing with the aid of Kickstarter in the future.”
Second place was taken by Economics with Chinese Studies student Oliver English and Management Studies student Myles McCarthy with their business, Sko Espial. Their product is the world’s first fully customisable snowboard which allows the user to change the graphics on their board using a mobile app.
Oliver and Myles said of the experience: “The SVC gave us a real taste of what it takes to write, practice and deliver a pitch to a room of potential investors. Winning has inspired us to move forward faster and the prize money will allow us to do so.
“We plan to produce a prototype within the next three months and are hopeful that we can release our product onto the market around September. This is just the beginning for Sko Espial and we are already conceptualising other ideas to pursue once the Espial Board hits the market.”
A team of Mechanical Engineering students took third place. David Alatorre, Thomas Dryden, Thomas Shorten and Peter Storey presented their pitch for their Freefall Camera, the world’s first autonomous freefalling camera robot. The device will enable skydivers to be filmed at any time they choose instead of being bound by camera flyer availability.
The winning teams will receive a share of £15,000 courtesy of Santander and the Higher Education Innovation Fund as well as professional advice from sponsors Haines Watts and support from staff at the centre.
The event was sponsored by Santander, Haines Watts, Marketest and The University of Nottingham Innovation Park (UNIP).
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Notes to editors: The University of Nottingham has 43,000 students and is ‘the nearest Britain has to a truly global university, with campuses in China and Malaysia modelled on a headquarters that is among the most attractive in Britain’ (Times Good University Guide 2014). It is also the most popular university among graduate employers, the world’s greenest university, and winner of the Times Higher Education Award for ‘Outstanding Contribution to Sustainable Development’. It is ranked in the World's Top 75 universities by the QS World University Rankings.
Impact: The Nottingham Campaign, its biggest-ever fundraising campaign, is delivering the University’s vision to change lives, tackle global issues and shape the future. More news