Social enterprise news

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Students ‘Venture Out’ in enterprise competition

Whitworth Hall played host to this year’s 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.

Lynn Sheppard, Director of Manchester Enterprise Centre 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.

“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. This experiential learning is highly valued by employers and allows students to add significant value to their degree.”

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 Research

Eve Blumson, Uybach Vo, Matthew Rosser, and Osman Zarroug – Faculty of Life Sciences and Manchester Pharmacy School

The team looked at the common disease known as endometriosis, a leading cause of chronic pelvic pain and infertility which can only be diagnosed by surgery. The students identified EndoStop markers which aim to screen samples from women with and without endometriosis, to develop a clinically useful non-invasive diagnostic test.

Venture Out Digital

Joshua Smith – School of 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

 Project ‘O’ Computer Savvy’ has been developed as an idea to encourage older people to get involved in the modern digital world. The student volunteering organisation will develop teaching 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 newly created PZ Cussons Innovation Challenge, 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 to obtain clean water to support their life.

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

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