A monthly subscription service to help people with depression, a social enterprise based around West African cooking, and a way of using technology to improve golfing technique are among the student enterprises awarded funding through a University of Plymouth initiative.
Student travel companies, adventurous team building services and a series of enterprises based around virtual reality have been awarded business start-up grants after impressing judges as part of the BETA Enterprise programme, run by the Futures Entrepreneurship Centre.
The annual competition 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 2017, 13 student start-ups have been awarded funding and Amber Strong, who runs the BETA Enterprise programme at the University, said:
“It was brilliant to see proactive student start-ups tackling diverse areas such as virtual reality training, coastal sustainability and student travel. 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.”
In the current academic year, over 600 students attended BETA Enterprise activities including guest lectures by entrepreneurial alumni, skills development workshops, networking and pitching opportunities.
Additionally, students registered on the core start-up element of the programme regularly met with local business mentors (including the University’s Entrepreneurs in Residence), who were available on a weekly basis.
Students were also able to fine-tune their ideas at the annual Business Plan Hackathon before pitching to the funding panel in either January, March, April or May.
James Mugridge, a Stage 2 BSc (Hons) Business Management student, said:
“It was a great programme with plenty of opportunities for advice from industry experts on how to develop business concepts and ideas. My personal highlight would have to be the pitch for grant funding, and we were even more delighted with the result. It has certainly helped my development and my business.”