The winners of the 2021 Venture Further business start-up competition have been announced during an online awards ceremony. Hosted by Alliance MBS Advisory Board member, entrepreneur and philanthropist Vikas Shah MBE, 15 teams of entrepreneurs have been awarded a share of a £75,000 cash prize fund to help take their start-ups to the next level.
Joined by the University's Deputy President and Deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor Luke Georghiou and previous Venture Further winner Beenish Siddique, Founder and CEO of AEH Innovative Hydrogel, the evening was a celebration of innovation and entrepreneurship at The University of Manchester.
Our annual Venture Further competition, run by the Masood Entrepreneurship Centre, invites students and recent graduates from across The University of Manchester to submit their business proposals to an expert judging panel of enterprise and business professionals. The competition offers an exclusive opportunity to win a significant cash injection to help realise their business goals.
From a healthy number of entries, 25 teams reached the final round. In each of the five categories –Environmental, Healthcare, Services, Social and Technology – five teams competed for the top cash prize of £10,000. Second place winners were awarded £3,500 and third place £1,500.
There were some fantastic business ideas from students right across the University, including seven winners from Alliance MBS, across four of the categories.
The Venture Further 2021 winners are:
Environmental Category: IGOLO
An online hub promoting sustainability in the home construction industry by making the know-how, materials and expertise more accessible to homeowners
Sophia Major, MArch. Architecture, School of Environment, Education and Development (Alumni Class of 2020)
Florence Quinn, MSci. Biology (Alumni Class of 2020)
Healthcare Category: Simplex Molecular
A biotech start-up developing a new diagnostic system to detect antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Its innovative system will allow users to perform the test without laboratory equipment or complex training.
Maribel Montufar Martinez, Ph.D. Student, School of Biological Sciences
Karen M. Garcia Rodriguez, Ph.D. Student, School of Materials
Services Category: What’s Fresh
A platform enabling customers to order high quality fresh local produce, by modernising the ‘shop local’ experience and giving local farmers a competitive advantage.
Ross Neilson, MBA, AMBS (Alumni Class of 2019)
Social category: Arkisites
Improving racial diversity and inclusion in the technical sector, acting in a strategic consulting role to support diversity and inclusion agendas.
Elijah Ajuwon, MSc. Innovation Management and Entrepreneurship, AMBS
Technology category: Bright Biotech Limited
Developing high quality and affordable recombinant proteins in plants for research and the therapeutic market.
Mohammad El Hajj, Ph.D. School of Biological Sciences (Alumni Class of 2018)
Director of the Masood Entrepreneurship Centre, Lynn Sheppard said: “We are now in the 16th year of the competition, and we received entries from a number of Schools from every Faculty in the University, demonstrating that the appetite for entrepreneurship is increasing here at The University of Manchester.
“The standard and quality of business proposals submitted were impeccable, with candidates spotting prevalent problems and conducting thorough market research to submit both credible and viable business plans.
“The competition has been a phenomenal success culminating in a fantastic online awards event which aired not only regionally and nationally but also internationally with audience members watching in Singapore, Zambia, Canada and Japan.
“We look forward to supporting all the winners in furthering their start-ups and making them a success.”
Venture Further 2021 was supported by IBM, Slalom, and Vita Student.