Best Graduate Start-up 2012

UniSport - University of Exeter

We provide media coverage of UK University sport through our online platforms and live streaming. Think of us as Sky Sports for British student sport.

58% of the Team GB athletes at the 2008 Beijing Olympics had come through the University system and 150,000 students play sport against each other every week. The next Andrew Strauss, Will Greenwood or Tanni Grey-Thompson are currently at university, and sport is the centre point of university life, yet no media coverage of university sport has ever been provided in the UK. That is the problem we solve.

Through the platform we have created the  Universities gain under-graduate promotion, parent and Alumni engagement, as well as marketing their universities through the broadcasting of their sports matches and increased advertising revenue. Brands can now access a highly influential market they normally have great difficulty with.

We have generated good traction on our platform with over 10,000 visits to UniSportOnline per week and 40% return rate from users. Many of our photo albums gain over 200,000 social media networks and we have had 10,000 viewers to 8 live matches from over 50 different countries. We regularly get more than 1 tweet per minute.

Best Social Enterprise Project 2012

FoodCycle Bristol – University of Bristol

The UK generates over 16 million tonnes of food waste every year, costing an estimated £22 billion and accounting for 10% of all our carbon emissions, whilst 4 million are living in food poverty in Britain.

The solution? FoodCycle Bristol. Every Sunday surplus food is transported from local shops to a community kitchen using bike trailers. Here volunteers prepare a free 3 course meal for an average of 50 beneficiaries who are offered a place at the table in a welcoming setting. Volunteering themselves, beneficiaries can also gain valuable skills and character references to improve their chances of employment.

The project is made financially self-sustainable via the fortnightly Student Restaurant serving 120 students. Again the meal is made from surplus food but this time guests pay £3.  The restaurant is also a platform for University ethical and environmental societies.

With over 500 volunteers, widespread engagement from the community and having registered just under £3000 profit this year, we are in an excellent position to set up a second community kitchen.

Bristol University has provided free storage space and a venue for our Student Restaurant events. In addition, the support of the University press office in obtaining media coverage has been extremely helpful.

Best Student Start-up 2012

The Underground Bookclub – University of Bath

We would like to nominate Andy Brown (a 5th Year student in Mechanical Engineering) and his company “The Underground Bookclub” for this award because it is one of the most exciting student businesses we have seen, created by a truly passionate and dedicated entrepreneur.

Andy’s business is a fortnightly Metro-style free magazine for commuters, but instead of news it features the first chapters of three new books. Revenue comes from advertising and commission from book retailers.

During the time he has developed and refined the concept, he has shown incredible determination, which resulted in him winning this year’s Business Plan Competition, and securing £5,000 in seed funding at our Dragon’s Den event. More recently, Andy has starred in an upcoming Apprentice-style TV show with his idea and has just been awarded £100,000 to launch the business. Trials with commence on the 16th April in London, with a plan to realise annual profits of £600K by the second year of trading.

Andy has really made best use of the resources available through the enterprise department at Bath, and has been a committed member of the society by participating in all major events throughout the year.

Best Student Enterprise Experience 2012

Student Enterprise Shop Competition – University of Bath

Student Enterprise ’11 gave teams of students the opportunity to develop entrepreneurial skills by providing them with a £200 loan, an experienced business mentor and a day trading in a city-centre shop. This was supported by a series of workshops beforehand, and a reflective presentation about their learning at an awards ceremony afterwards. The aim for the teams is to make as much profit as possible, with the winners getting to keep theirs. Other teams’ profits are retained in order to cover any losses and ensure the sustainability of the project.

Headline impact figures:

• 135 students entered the competition in 30 teams

• Entrants ranged from 1st year undergraduates up to final year postgraduates

• All nine teams selected to trade in the shop made a profit

• Total profit was £1,864 which represents a 100% Return-on-Investment (ROI)

In addition to running the project again next year, we will expand it to a regional level through the SETsquared partnership, with teams from the five universities being given a stall at London’s famous Spitalfields market for a day in June. We are also pitching the project to the NUS with the aim of launching nationally in 2013.

 People’s Choice Award 2012

 The winner in this category was selected by attendees of the event from all the start-up entrants. 

SIFE Surrey Ricycle project– University of Surrey

One of the biggest issues facing the rural population of Thailand today is the destruction of crops due to flooding. As the only source of income for these individuals is lost, they are unable to afford the essentials such as food, education and healthcare, therefore driving families and communities apart in search of employment. Aided by a £4000 grant facilitated by the University, we established a method of extracting the outer casing of the rice (husk) and using it to stuff pillows. The husk, which is otherwise burnt (releasing CO2), can still be utilised when flooding occurs, thus diversifying the risk for the farming communities and reducing the environmental impact.

The market for these pillows has shown great promise, with numerous single unit sales to date, and now with promise of our first contract sale of 100 units. The sale of an average pillow is between £30-£40 whereas we are able to make a £7.40 profit when sold for £10 per unit.

So far we have increased the income of the farmers we have worked with by 150%, and set up a manufacturing environment which can provide a capacity of 270 units per day, giving great scope for the future.

Student Enterprise Champion and Business Mentor Award 2012

For each University an individual was recognised as their Student Enterprise Champion and Business Mentor of the year at the ceremony.