Students ‘Venture Out’ in Enterprise Competition


Whitworth Hall played host to the tenth Venture Out competition, which saw students from thirteen schools across The University pitching their best ideas in the hope of winning first prize in their category.

There were five categories in this year’s competition – business, social, digital, research, and graphene, as well as a new innovation challenge category, offered by the competition’s sponsor, PZ Cussons.

The innovation challenge brought a new excitement to the event with finalists having to pitch their ideas live to a judging panel, including representatives from sponsor PZ Cussons.

All current undergraduate, postgraduate and research students across The University of Manchester were able to enter, either as individuals or in teams of up to six members.

And the winners were…

Venture Out Graphene
Leonid Nichman – School of Earth, Atmospheric and Environmental Sciences
Looking at the detection of impurities on Graphene, Leonid suggested that surface groups attached to a Graphene sheet may turn the material into a less advantageous one in some applications. He investigated the modification of surface groups at sub-zero temperatures, and how these different environments can lead to detection and localisation of impurities by polarised laser beam.

Venture Out Digital
Joshua Smith – School of Social Sciences
Proposing the idea of a new app, Joshua won first prize with The Loyalty app. Suitable for iOS and Android, the app will enable consumers to replace existing plastic loyalty cards and sign up to new loyalty schemes at the touch of a button, allowing businesses to interact with consumers in a better way than ever before.

Venture Out Social
Botakoz Kassenali and Abhishek R Patil – Manchester Business School
The winning idea, O Computer Savvy has been developed as an idea to encourage older people to get involved in the modern digital world. They will develop  programmes to teach the older generation to use computers, gadgets and the internet.

Venture Out Business
Christos Kounnas – Manchester Business School
Christos came in first place in the Business category with his ‘Tool Exchange’ proposal. The concept is to allow owners of tools ranging from DIY tools to cooking machinery, to rent the items for a short-term period to other people who need to use them.

PZ Cussons Innovation Challenge
Dannu Danil, Shaun Teo, and Prashant Chandrashekar – Manchester Business School
In the challenge set by competition sponsors to ‘help consumers in Africa stay safe and hygienic when they haven’t got easy access to clean water’, three MBA students scooped the winning prize of £1500 with their ‘Power Cycle’ project. The team came up with the life-supporting idea of the Power Cycle; a bicycle that produces energy from kinetic movement and stores it inside the attached power adaptor. Users can use this energy to supply them with their daily needs, such as boiling water in order to sterilise it.


Dr Martin Henery, Venture Competition Director said, “Once again the standard has been incredibly high and we have had entries from students from right across the University; it’s good to see that we have some highly entrepreneurial students here at Manchester. The atmosphere on the day at the poster viewing was fantastic with visitors being able to discuss the finalists’ ideas with the students themselves.”

Lynn Sheppard, Director of Manchester Enterprise Centre said, “Our students and graduates need to be ever more creative in their thinking both in terms of generating and recognising opportunities, and in terms of actually implementing them. The Venture Competitions are of real value to students and graduates as they provide a tangible link between the subject being studied and business opportunities.”

Competition sponsors PZ Cussons said, “PZ Cussons are pleased to sponsor Venture Out.  We were impressed by the breadth and quality of the ideas generated and delighted to see the winning idea for our challenge provided an innovative and practical solution to a real problem.”

Congratulations to all of this year’s winners, as well as all of those who entered!

Venture Further 2015 – competition now open

If any of your students or recent graduates have business start-ups in any of the following categories, please encourage them to enter:
•    Business
•    Social
•    Digital
•    Research

First prize in all categories is £10,000, with second prize awarded £2500. Visit MEC for more details.



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Manchester Business School has a global reputation for innovative and influential teaching and research, which impacts business on a local, national and international level. We call this Original Thinking Applied.

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