Tectona Business Challenge 2014

Andrew, a University of Plymouth graduate and visiting academic, pitched an innovative fish traceability scheme to a hungry panel of experts, netting around £10,000 in cash and business support to bring his idea to life.

Tectona, formerly known as the Business Ideas Challenge, provides expertise to help develop innovative business ideas and support to make them happen.

Andrew’s journey of discovery began right here in the South West. He said: 

“I’ve been very fortunate growing up here. Our family heritage is in fishing and farming across the region, my grandparents owned a small farm up until 2001 when they were forced to sell up, in part due to the impact on the agriculture industry by the foot and mouth epidemic. It was an unbelievable blow. Observing a general decline in the fishing industry too, I’ve decided to change things.”

Andrew’s idea is still in the very early stages, but he believes fishing in the South West is an industry where substantial economic growth could occur if the right ethical business model, innovative ideas and technology were applied.

The Challenge is open to students, alumni and staff at University of Plymouth, colleges in partnership with the University and Combined Universities in Cornwall (CUC).

Sharing his own success story at the awards ceremony, was Gavin Jones from social media experts Elixel, formed from a group of University of Plymouth graduates. Honorary Chief Executive of Tectona Trust, Dr Roger Crabtree, also gave a talk about Sail Training Vessel Tectona, and the work of the Trust helping people in recovery from drug addiction. He said: 

“This is a great competition and it’s wonderful to see how participants benefit from the well thought-out support they get.”

Theodore Moule and Francesco D’Alessio picked up second prize for their start-up concept Future Framework, and student Jane Sanderson from the School of Biological Sciences also secured a cash prize.

The Tectona Business Challenge runs twice per year and takes its name from a durable hardwood often used in shipbuilding, and the name of the training vessel used by University of Plymouth when it was The School of Navigation. The idea is to reflect the entrants’ strength, durability, navigation, growth and journeys.