The winners of this year’s Enterprise Challenge awards have received their prizes from a former winner who is now running his own flourishing business.
Gilles Macey, who was the evening’s guest speaker, is founder and Managing Director of European fantasy football website, Euro-Eleven. The University of Portsmouth Alumnus said that it was a pleasure to be back at the University and to be presenting an award which had helped take him forward. He advised students to start a business from something they are passionate about.
He said: “If you’re passionate, you can convince others to invest time and money in you and your idea. Don’t give up – even on your down days. Keep doing what you’re doing. You have no idea who’s watching your progress. Find a good mentor to advise you when you’re not sure if you’re making the right decisions – they can also tell you when you’re about to make the wrong decision.”
Keshia Austin, one of three first prize-winners, is the brains – and the passion – behind English Direct, a scheme to help students for whom English isn’t their first language improve their skills. She believes that some students have great ideas but don’t always have the English skills to put their idea across. English Direct aims to give international students an equal platform by providing proofreading services carried out by English language students and graduates.
The 24 year old, who wins a work experience visit to the Kaospilot School of Entrepreneurship in Denmark and a cash prize of £250, said: “The challenge itself is a great experience and keeps you driven during the calmer university periods. It was great to network with successful business people and graduate entrepreneurs. I’m ridiculously excited about going to Denmark and I’m really looking forward to taking what I’ve learned and using it to push English Direct forward.”
As usual, competition judges were looking for more than just a great idea, but proof it has potential and evidence that competitors had gone the extra mile by trialling their idea, producing a prototype or have even started trading.
Winner, Dan Harper, convinced the judges his idea was viable. He founded InventoryBase, a property inventory software package for the management and production of professional tenancy reports aimed at external inventory providers and letting agents. He wins £250 plus a week’s work experience at Colvill Banks’ international office in Singapore, which is owned by an alumnus of the University.
The third award-winner was John Wheal, 19, creator of Brick 4D, a mobile game for the iPhone and iPod Touch. The app is based on a classic ‘brick game’ which judges believed he had taken to a whole new level. John also wins £250 and a week’s work experience at Colvill Banks, at their office in Mumbai, India.
The event was held at Southsea Castle where representatives from local businesses mingled with the students.
Event organiser and Director of the Portsmouth Centre for Enterprise, Richard Sant, said: “Seeing our graduate entrepreneurs networking and making real business connections with aspiring entrepreneurial students was a real demonstration that this university is creating a powerful engine for entrepreneurs. ”
The awards included prizes for three runners up: Christal Clashing O’Reilly invented ‘FanMapp,’ a web-based mobile phone application that allows sports fans to locate fellow national team supporters at major international events. She wins a day of one-to-one mentoring with our Visiting Entrepreneur Paul Quigley
Stephen & Matthew Roberts are the co-inventors of ‘Re:House,’ a scheme to make quality, affordable housing more widely available and provide housing support to those in need of it. The judges were impressed with their clear vision and they win a consultation with a senior housing lawyer at Coffin Mew LLP & an invitation to join PricewaterhouseCoopers Social Entrepreneurs Club.
Andrew Martin and team are behind games development company, Little Kraken Games Studios™ which develops pick up and play games for PC, Tablets, and Windows Smartphones and which is a thriving online retail specialist for gaming peripherals. They won a free StartUp consultation with the Law firm Coffin Mew to help ensure they safeguard their business proposition.