Blockchainers is a University of Manchester start-up supported by UMIP’s Innovation Optimiser. Rahul Shah from our Full-time MBA class of 2019 is a member of the non-profit organisation. He heard about the Blockchainers Ignition Awards earlier in the year when he was deep into the International Business Project. As the MBA programme has come to an end he decided he would submit an application for the competition with his classmate Nipin Gopi representing Alliance Manchester Business School. Nipin says, “When I finished my MBA and I had to get back to work mode, I didn’t think I would get a chance so soon to enter another competition.”
The Blockchainers Ignition Awards took place at Alliance Manchester Business School on Friday 3rd May. Blockchainers is an association designed to bring together students who share a common passion for blockchain. It encourages and financially sustains entrepreneurial initiatives. As well as this competition, Blockchainers holds talks, discussions, workshops, conferences and hackathons. The Ignition Award Competition is run by Blockchainers alongside Innovation Optimiser and Masood Enterprise Centre. Together they aim to inspire and further build on the spirit of enterprise and innovation within the developing Blockchainers community. This helps bring into reality the ideas of students, staff and recent graduates, to help maximise their potential for real-world use or social benefit.
We asked Denisa, co-president at Blockchainers for further information about the organisation and what the overall purpose of the awards was. She told us that one of Blockchainers aims is to help ensure that education about blockchain technology materialises into business ideas. Entrepreneurs and start-ups have the fastest adaptation and ability to innovate and disrupt traditional processes, while also driving the economy. Blockchainers want to encourage this, to support students and staff to challenge themselves and think about ways in which they could solve problems that they face on a daily basis, using blockchain.
Denisa says, “We are happy that with the help from Masood Enterprise Centre and UMIP, it was possible to bring the Blockchainers Ignition Awards to life and give these young founders the chance to get real feedback for their ideas, a mini "initial investment" and further support!"
Nipin told us how the initial application was an online submission around the idea and strategy for the business. “Our idea, called ChainMail, uses blockchain technology as its core. In the build-up to the awards, our focus was on secondary research to estimate our target addressable market, the impact our idea could have and its value proposition. We also looked at technology, how we plan to develop it, business models, strategy, competitor analysis, our management team, financials, timeline and use of funds. On the day of the awards, we gave a 20-minute presentation around these aspects which was then followed by a 10-minute question and answer session about our product.” The final teams presented to a panel of judges that included, Tony Walker, Lynn Sheppard and Emma Rice.
On the day, Rahul and Nipin were up against 3 other teams and took away first place winning £2000. They say they plan on using their winnings for developing the minimum viable product while in the incubator stage. In the meantime, they also intend to pitch for seed funding so they are able to start beta testing within the University.