Six businesses supported by the Graduate Venture Accelerator programme competed at a Demo Day through live pitches to win £5,000 in funding, which was generously supported by Santander Universities UK.
Led by the Creative Enterprise Centre at the University, the Demo Day took place online on 13 July and showcased live pitches, 5-minute Q&As and a prize giving ceremony with a judging panel of industry experts.
The Graduate Venture Accelerator Programme is a 12 to 24 month structured and intensive business support programme for graduates with viable start-up concepts or post-revenue businesses. The programme accelerates the entrepreneurial development of the founders and growth of their businesses through monthly mentoring, exclusive workshops and expert advice, designated free co-working space and membership of a network of mentors and like-minded peers on similar entrepreneurial journeys.
Dewimaya Puspitasari, who graduated from the Electronics with Robitics & Control Systems MSc course in 2018, won first place and £3,500 for their business Sense Gift. Sense Gift is a Wristband that alerts you of an emergency, which aims to keep users safe anywhere, at any time. Katia Shipulina, a graduate from the Film BA Honours course, came in second and won £1,500 for their business Motional. The business is a creative studio which is developing a digital application for mindful time-management.
Talking about the Demo Day, Dewimaya said: “I am delighted be awarded the first prize in the Graduate Venture Accelerator Demo Day. This will be a step forward towards realising the very purpose of Sense Gift to help the deaf community. Thank you very much for the trust and support.”
Katia added: “It’s hugely motivating to be a part of the community of such talented startup founders. The Demo Day was a wonderful opportunity to see how far we’ve all come since joining the program. My co-founder, Alena Egorov, and I are very grateful to the judges and Santander Universities for their belief in our product and the prize money which will go directly to support our product development.”
Sheila Birungi, Student Enterprise Manager at the University of Westminster, added: “The Demo Day was a great event and showcase of the Graduate Venture Accelerator Programme and the cohorts of graduate business owners the University supports. We hope that the funding provides a boost the to the growth and development of the businesses.”
Learn more about the Creative Enterprise Centre at the University of Westminster.