From artificial intelligence to underwear design – students impress with business start-up ideas

Eight groups of students have been awarded business start-up grants after impressing judges as part of an annual enterprise initiative.

The BETA Enterprise programme, run by the Futures Entrepreneurship Centre at Plymouth University, encourages budding business innovators to develop ideas in partnership with current academics and successful alumni.

Running from October to May, it is open to students on any course at the University, with the potential for them to earn up to £1,500 in the form of a grant to develop their ideas.

In this academic year, more than 60 students were registered on the programme and attended guest lectures by entrepreneurial alumni, had fortnightly access to free business mentors (including the University’s Entrepreneurs in Residence), and attended networking events and extra-curricular skills development workshops.

They were also able to fine-tune their ideas at the annual Business Plan Hackathon before pitching to the funding panel in either January, March or May.

This year’s successful students, awarded £1,500 to develop their ideas, were:

  • Scott Redrup and Adam Daniels (Faculty of Science and Engineering) – Brainy Beard. Artificial intelligence technology and games development
  • Matthew Norman and Jason Vaitilingon (Faculty of Science and Engineering) – Questionable Quality. Technology and games development (also Creative Category winners of the 2016 Formation Zone Business Challenge)
  • Natalie Sefton-Fiddian (Faculty of Business) – Court and Chesco. Plus size lingerie design
  • Benjamin Duggan (Faculty of Business) – SellMyCarForMe. Car sales service
  • Dan Lynch (Faculty of Arts and Humanities) – Ursa Major Skateboards – bespoke skateboard and t-shirt design
  • Dominic Kristy (Faculty of Business) – Prehistoric Health. Healthy freeze dried fruit snacks
  • Scott Millward (Faculty of Business) – Voir L’ Avenir. Fashion brand
  • David Reed (Faculty of Business) – Foresight Reality. Virtual Reality training for the emergency services.

Amber Strong, Network Adviser in Entrepreneurship at Plymouth University, said:

“It was brilliant to see proactive student start-ups tackling diverse areas such as virtual reality training, sustainable energy and underwear (re)-design. BETA Enterprise provides students with a clear programme of support to help them grow and develop their business idea from formation to creation providing mentoring from a variety of business experts along the way. It is an integral part of their university experience and parallels the opportunities that exist within work-based placements.”

BETA Enterprise Programme

Student entrepreneurs undertaking the MSc Entrepreneurship are automatically enrolled on the BETA Enterprise Programme. The programme provides workshops, advice and one-to-one mentoring throughout the programme. Students also have the opportunity to pitch for start-up funding from the BETA programme consisting of a grant of up to £1,500.

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