A Westminster student has, for the first time, reached the semi-final stage of the prestigious Santander awards, getting closer to winning up to £25,000 equity free funding, mentoring and a funded intern.

Semi-finalist student Bosco Chun Li, currently studying the Media, Campaigning and Social Change MA at the University of Westminster, founded YES Overseas Weddings, an organisation managing weddings in the UK for LGBT couples from Hong Kong and China. Same sex marriages are prohibited in China and Hong Kong but a UK marriage licence is recognised and affords couples equal local benefits.  With China’s significant and growing LGBT population, the business offers couples paid for packages that cover a wide range of wedding planning services such as legal documentation, venue hire, catering, florists, entertainment, honeymoon and more.

The competition application was open to all students and consists of three stages, the first required online submission of a business model canvas and a two minutes video pitch. Applications were then filtered down to eight business ideas, where Bosco and ten other students went through a gruelling week long Idea Validation Bootcamp organised by the University’s Creative Enterprise Centre Accelerator Programme.

Shiela Birungi, Manager of the Creative Enterprise Centre, said: “Bosco’s success is a great example of the entrepreneurial potential and strength of business ideas founded by Westminster’s students. Through the CEC Accelerator Programme, Bosco and his entrepreneurial peers have invested a lot of time and hard work, have come a long way in growing their business ideas and developing their enterprise skills”.

Santander competition
Semi-finalist student Bosco Chun Li during the competition

The CEC Accelerator programme offers a comprehensive frontline service for students and graduates, interested in setting up or already operating a business and or are freelancing, regardless of specialism, stage and scale. The CEC delivers a structured schedule of networking events, online and print resources, workshops, one-to-one appointments, mentoring, specialist advice and drop-in surgeries, to support students and graduates to develop and launch their businesses.

Launched in 2011, the Santander University Entrepreneurship Awards is an annual competition aimed at stimulating university entrepreneurial activity. As one of UK’s largest student and graduate business pitching competitions. Santander rewards students and graduate entrepreneurs with startup funding and mentoring.

The semi-finals will take place at the University of Liverpool (London Campus) on Tuesday 3 July and will see 20 of the best business from universities across the region pitch their place for the national final with a chance to win a share of a £90,000 prize fund.

Find out more about the Creative Enterprise Centre.

Sign up to the accelerator programme if you are a student or recent graduate interested in setting up or are already running a business.

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