Celebrating its 10th anniversary, this year’s Business Venture Competition took place at the newly created co-working space at the Innovation Centre on Tuesday 28 April.
Our keynote speaker and founder of Jimmy’s Iced Coffee, Jim Cregan arrived with his sister Suzie and a cool box full of samples of his iced coffee! We were very excited to welcome Jim and Suzie to the BVC awards who first launched their product 4 years ago in Selfridges.
Our six finalists arrived just before 5pm along with their family and friends; all of them spoke of how nervous they were and that they had practiced their 2 minute business pitch for most of the day!
Background music filled the room as guests arrived taking the opportunity to network, enjoy light refreshments and sample Jimmy’s Iced Coffee! They chatted away about their passion for student enterprise as they browsed our awards programme!
The evening kick started with a short speech from Jenny Creasey, Design Crafts graduate and owner of Itch Gallery. Jenny shared how winning the Creative Award at the Business Venture Competition in 2012 helped her buy Itch Gallery and the continued support from CEO has been fundamental to the success of her business. It was lovely to hear from Jenny and her journey since winning the Creative Award.
Next to take the stage was down to earth Jim Cregan! Before we got to hear the story of Jimmy’s Iced Coffee, there was a giant Jimmy’s Iced Coffee beach towel to be won by a member of the audience! The winner was decided by a massive game of paper, rock and scissors! Our keynote speaker informed the audience of how Jimmy’s Iced Coffee started after discovering and falling in love with iced coffee during a trip to Oz in 2008! Not only was the story of his brand inspiring and motivating for our six finalists in the room, his comedic timing was spot on providing our audience with many smiles and giggles!
Jim’s main message to our enterprising students and graduates was to “just crack on and keep your chin up whatever happens. Everything is a bit of a risk when you’re starting out and it’s about being able to separate what is fact against what your gut is telling you to do.” This was reinforced when Jim shared his favourite quote from the 1995 film Babe “Farmer Hoggett knew that little ideas that tickled and nagged and refused to go away should never be ignored, for in them lie the seeds of destiny.”
After 106 initial applications back in November 2014, it was time for our six finalists to pitch their ideas to the audience for their chance to win cash prizes and business support from our sponsors.
Alexandra Williamson, a Design Crafts student was the first finalist to grace the stage with her luxury handmade leather goods brand Alex Williamson. As well as making leather goods, Alex also wanted to pass on her skills and expertise through workshops.
Stormburst Studios is a joint venture by final year Computer Games Programming students Derry Holt and James Heath. Stormburst Studios aspires to bring game-based innovation to the world of technology.
The third person to pitch their business idea was Performing Arts student Katie Higgins with her performing arts school for children and young people Elevate Arts. The school will offer different types of classes to enable children to achieve a range of different awards.
The first of the Business Award finalists was passionate baker Rebecca Madeley. The Education Studies student pitched her idea to bake cakes that offer a range of dietary requirements such as gluten and dairy free cakes. Her long term ambition is to open a vintage bakery which would be known as Becky’s Kitchen.
Sarah Higgins (no relation to fellow finalist Katie Higgins) took to the stage to pitch Power of Love Leadership for the business award. The Business and Law graduate pitched her leadership model which helps leaders understand emotions and feelings and clarify how they’re affecting results within their team.
Last but not least to pitch was 2014 BAL graduate, Yasmin Greenaway with her venture Fundvestr, a crowdfunding platform which supports ethical businesses.
It was time for the nerves to kick in again, as the sponsors of each award revealed the winner of their category. The few seconds of a silence before the winner was announced must have felt like hours!. The winners of each category won a £1000 cash prize and business support from the award sponsors. The winners were:
Creative – Sponsored by Itch Gallery
Katie Higgins – Elevate Arts
Business – Sir Thomas White Loans and Marketest
Rebecca Madeley – Becky’s Kitchen
Technology and Innovation – Prospect IP and Business Analysis Consultancy Ltd
Yasmin Greenaway – Fundvestr
The winner of the final award of the evening was decided by a live text vote. Each member of the audience had one vote to decide who would receive the £250 CEO Enterprise Award.
CEO’s Project Manager Amy Maher announced that with 35% of the vote, Derry Holt and James Heath were awarded with £250 cash bursary towards their games studio Stormburst Studio.
Thank you once again to each of our sponsors and attendees of the event for their continued support for CEO and student enterprise.
For more information about CEO and how we can help you kick start your ideas, please visit www.dmu.ac.uk/ceo