Home Business IDEAS for Students
Organised by UCL Innovation and Enterprise, this second phase was designed to help budding entrepreneurs with a proven business concept develop that idea into a realisable business plan. Following on from the initial Idea Creation phase, it focused on Validation and Prototyping.
Nearly 70 participants from a range of UCL faculties signed up to the programme, which consisted of workshops and mentoring sessions tailored towards helping participants test the marketplace and shape their ideas into sustainable revenue-generating businesses.
Thirty-three participants went on to submit a business plan and 32 pitched their ideas to a panel of UCL /alumni, staff and London-based start-ups, held on Wednesday March 22nd.
The following four winners each received £3, 000 to help them begin to execute their business plans:
- QuitNic – a product that aims to make it as easy as possible for a person to quit smoking completely without experiencing many of the withdrawal symptoms associated with smoking cessation. (Zakariya Mohran, Undergraduate in Mechanical Engineering, Engineering Sciences).
- Flexrail – a platform for a new type of train ticket that enables cost saving for operators and garunteed cheaper tickets for passengers. (Garrett Dowd, Postgraduate School of Management, Engineering Sciences)
- Kalgera – a platform giving care-givers of older people secure-view only access to their loved one’s finances to help them avoid financial losses (Dexter Penn, Postgraduate Institute of Health Informatics, Population Health Sciences)
- ONiT – an interactive school reporting system designed to strengthen links between school and home. Devised by Sally Dennehy, (Postgraduate Anthropology, Social and Historical Sciences), ONiT was also a winner in Phase One of the competition.
Phase1: Highlights Video - UCL Bright Ideas Challenge Phase 1: Idea generation and validation
Commenting on the programme, Sally Dennehy said: ‘Finding out about Bright Ideas was one of the reasons I chose UCL. I wanted support and mentoring to get my business idea off the ground, and that is exactly what I got. It’s been fantastic; not only the advice and pressure to keep things moving, but also the opportunity to meet so many interesting people, too.’
Dexter Penn of Kalgera added: ‘Bright Ideas is a great way to think like an entrepreneur. It also gives the structure and opportunity to meet other like-minded students.’
Two other projects were awarded £1, 500 each in recognition of their achievements:
- Beacon – an app that uses phone data to detect when someone with bipolar disorder has a low mood, and alerts loved ones to suggest that they call the affected individual (Freddie Simons, Undergraduate Psychology and Language Sciences, Brain Sciences)
- i Believe Rainbow – a business that helps gay couples in China to register their marriage in the UK while travelling (Xi Huang and Muge Muge, Postgraduates in Security and Crime Science, Engineering Sciences).
UCL’s Director for Entrepreneurship, Charlotte Croffie said: ‘The Bright Ideas Challenge continues to attract a wealth of talent and a variety of commercial and social enterprise ventures. The passion of the entrants to stand behind their ideas, and their commitment to put in the work to develop competitive pitches for the judges is commended. This will stand them in good stead to progress their business ventures’.
Sherece Rainford, Programme Lead, UCL Bright Ideas Challenge, UCL Innovation and Enterprise, said: ‘It was a very successful eight-week programme, enabling students and staff to develop their business knowledge and take their ideas forward into a business plan. The programme offered both practical and theoretical elements, and the networking that it encouraged between like-minded people was of great benefit in helping them to progress.’
Students, staff and alumni are now being invited to apply to join the next phase of UCL’s entrepreneurial challenges. The Summer adVenture, which runs from late June to August, is an eight-week pre-accelerator programme including workshops, mentoring and peer-to-peer engagement for a select cohort of entrepreneurs. Participants will be challenged to prove that their business works, to make their first sale and launch their start-up into the market. They also have the chance to pitch for a £10, 000 George Farha New Venture Award.