Within the last 12 months, the Masood Enterprise Centre (MEC) has awarded over 30 Kickstarter awards to University of Manchester students and graduates. The Kickstarter Fund, generously donated by alumnus Nick Sanders, is used by students to validate and develop their early-stage start-up business ideas. The funding is also complemented by a package of support from the MEC Team built around developing the idea together with enhancing the skills of the entrepreneur.
The aim of the fund is to create more successful start-ups from the ideas developed by students across the University.
Nick Sanders, keen to support the next generation of entrepreneurs, spent his early career in the aerospace industry and now manages a portfolio of private businesses and advises Private Equity firms on new or existing investments. Nick actively engages with the early stage entrepreneurs funded through this opportunity to offer advice and support their development.
Nikhil Kurian Jacob, Kickstarter awardee and founder of Stressless, a distraction based therapy for pain-management through virtual reality games commented, "As an early-stage business, the Kickstarter award helped me develop our business idea of 'stress-relieving neuro games' in many ways.
"With the funding, the first thing I bought was a brainwave measurement headset to test out an early prototype and I still remember that sense of joy seeing live the 'relaxation brainwaves' growing stronger while playing. During this time, I also enjoyed our meetings with Nick Sanders which helped a lot in filling the gaps in business knowledge; in particular, I am very grateful to him for instilling in me the importance of thinking long-term and communicating the exit plan clearly to investors, a lesson I took away to other competitions and awards.
"I had also benefitted immensely from the constant support from MEC, not just financially, but also in many other matters that a first-time entrepreneur faces. All these helped us get through a wild journey of failures and successes, which most recently led us to winning the Venture Further award in the technology category. I highly recommend everyone to apply for the Kickstarter Award, and seize every opportunity that comes your way, you will not regret it!"
Dr Laura Etchells, Enterprise Business Development Manager, Masood Enterprise Centre added, “The Kickstarter fund has been invaluable in helping us to build on our mechanisms to inspire and encourage student entrepreneurs from across the University to test and explore their ideas. We look forward to helping our entrepreneurs shape the businesses of the future.”
The Kickstarter funding opportunity is open on a rolling monthly basis. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for further information and to request an application form.