Students and graduates have been shortlisted for the University’s Big Idea Competition, the University’s annual business idea and innovation competition.

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The Big Idea Competition is sponsored by Santander Universities UK and organised by the University’s Creative Enterprise Centre (CEC). The competition encourages students and graduates to develop their entrepreneurial skills and realise their business idea. It is delivered with support from Experience Haus

The competition and its applicants are split into three different categories; innovation, ideation and acceleration. All winning entries will get a place on the 2020 London Venture Crawl, which will take students to some of London’s top start up, innovation and creative hubs. 

The innovation category calls for the applicants to solve a business challenge. This category asks applicants to pitch a solution to a business problem and opportunity presented by one of three local start-ups. Three winning entries will win £1000 each and three runner ups will win £500. In each category there will be one viral idea winner, awarded to the finalist with the greatest number of votes from the public in their category, who will receive £500. 

The innovation category is suited to students and graduates who are seeking hands-on work experience working with a start-up to resolve a commercial problem or innovate to identify new market opportunities. Emilia Chilton was shortlisted in the innovation category for her work on ‘Foundational Health’. 

The ideation category asks applicants to pitch the potential of their early-stage product or service idea. The category is suited to students and graduates who have a new and viable product or service idea that addresses a definable market and customer/users. It is most suitable for early stage ideas for a business or social enterprise yet to be registered or generate any revenue.

Those shortlisted in the ideation category are Christopher Rees, a Software Engineering BEng Honours student, Beatrice Pocini-Fearfield, Theodor Vasile and Lulia Topan from the Business Management (Entrepreneurship) BA Honours course, Alexandra Tzavella on the Digital and Interactive Storytelling LAB MA, Marwa Thabet from the Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Enterprise Development MSc, Sou Sethey from the Digital Business MSc, Melvin Moyo and Mikael Samiloff from the Commercial Music (Honours) BA course, Samantha Sutton from the International Marketing BA Honours course, Vitorrio Varriale from the Marketing Management BA Honours course, Chi Ding from the Media Management MA, Boris Sergeev from the Computer Science BSc Honours course, Laure Hamoniau from the Global Public Health Nutrition MSc, and Katie Shipulina from the Film BA Honours course. 

The one winning entry from the ideation category receives £3000, one runner up receives £1500 and one finalist wins £500.

In the acceleration category applicants are asked to pitch their existing and trading product or service and its potential to grow. The category is suited to students and graduates who have existing, registered and trading businesses or social enterprises with a working product or service or at least a minimum viable product. It is most suited to students and graduates with businesses or a social enterprise in operation and generating initial revenue.

Those shortlisted for the acceleration category are Isu Diin Hassan, a Law LLB Honours student, Manimekala Fuller from the Fashion Design BA Honours course, Emily Eby from the Interior Design MA, Imitshal Zina Zeine from the Biomedical Sciences BSc Honours course, Alvaro Caiza from the Interactive Media Practice MA, and Taylor Semelsberger from the Fashion Business Management MA course. 

The winning entry in the acceleration category will receive £6000, the runner up will receive £2500 and the finalist will receive £1500. 

Throughout the competition, those shortlisted have the opportunity to attend workshops delivered by Experience Haus to develop their insights and skills. They also receive mentoring and expert advice throughout the competition.

The winners will be decided by a panel of judges who will be looking for the most viable, desirable and scalable businesses and concepts. The judges include Professor Malcolm Kirkup, Pro-Vice-Chancellor and Head of the Westminster Business School, Kay Kukoyi, Founder and CEO of Purposeful Products, Carolyn Daily, Founder of Creative Entrepreneurs, Jeffrey Faustin, Investment Director specialising in Early Stage Investments, and Zahra Hadi, a Product Developer at Nurture Brands. 

The final of the competition is on 17 March at DesignIt London, where the finalists will pitch to win one of this year’s awards. It is also an opportunity to celebrate and network with the finalists, other like-minded entrepreneurs, corporate businesses, VCs and Angel Investors as well as the competition’s partners and sponsors.

Voting for the viral idea winners will begin on 13 March via the competition website.

View the shortlisted entries on the Big Idea Competition website. 

Get your free tickets to the final on Eventbrite.

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