Students impress BETA judges in pitch for start-up funding

Ten student businesses have been awarded start-up grants of up to £1,500 after impressing judges as part of the University’s BETA skills development and start-up support programme.

Nine start-ups from Plymouth Business School and one from the School of Engineering, Computing and Mathematics received the grants from their faculties, after successful pitches to the BETA panel.

The BETA Enterprise Programme, run by the Futures Entrepreneurship Centre in Plymouth Business School, encourages budding business innovators to develop their ideas with advice from local experts. Running from October to May, the extracurricular programme is open to current students at the University, with the aim of making them more confident, innovative and employable graduates. Participants benefit from free skills development workshops, guest lectures from alumni and networking events.

The successful students, with businesses focusing on everything from urban bee farming to adventure and sustainable travel, were some of the many that took part in the BETA STARTUP element of the programme this year. This gives students access to weekly one-to-one business mentoring over the academic year, to develop their ideas.       

The University’s Entrepreneurs in Residence Raphael Dennett and Gareth Hart support students on the BETA programme through business mentoring and skills workshops. Gareth Hart, who is also Director of Iridescent Ideas Community Interest Company, was a member of the BETA judging panel. He said:

“The standard of the pitches this year was phenomenal. All the students had done meticulous market research and had compelling business ideas. The winners showed a bit more clarity in their business models and thinking. Encouragingly, there were a lot of social enterprise and ethical ideas too.

“This kind of experience is vital for future entrepreneurial or work endeavours. All the individuals pitching showed ambition, drive and delivered professional standard presentations.”

The successful students and businesses:

James Mugridge (BSc Business Management, stage 4)

SHAKA Student Travel – providing adventure holidays to sports societies

Jessica Derrick (BSc Business, stage 4)

Simply Tonga – sustainable tourism trips and gap experiences in Tonga

Debra Yeo (BSc Business Management, stage 4)

Discover Cornwall – promoting the best events and business offers in Cornwall

James Fortune (BA Business, stage 4)

Afortay - connecting music event organisers with high quality venues and equipment 

Philip Atkinson (BSc Accounting and Finance, stage 4)

Anchor Weights Ltd - innovative adaptable fitness equipment design

Judit Mero Hossain (BSc Business Management, stage 4) and Julia Jaczo (BSc Nutrition, Exercise and Health, stage 4)

First Class Mentoring - assignment proofreading

Matthew Elmes (BSc Professional Management Practice, stage 3)

Pollenize CIC - urban bee farming for corporate social responsibility

Jacob Asghar (BSc Business Enterprise and Entrepreneurship, stage 2)

Virtu Design - innovative product design with sustainable materials

Vadims Mahnovs (BSc Business Management, stage 4)

Onitbook - academic year planner

Bogdan Stoica and Radu-Adrian Marcu (BSc Computing and Games Development, stage 4)

Resonance Games - unique touchscreen glyph recognition