Students Staff

07 October 2015

Entrepreneurial spirit unleashed by Essex Startups programme

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Students and graduates have won funding worth thousands of pounds to develop their business ideas through the Essex Startups programme backed by Santander Universities.

A total of 20 teams came forward to take part in the two days of workshops at the beginning of the summer with six groups winning through to the final stage to present their plans to a panel of business mentors after creating a comprehensive business plan over the summer.

Essex drama graduate Cassie Catchpole won the overall first prize of £3,000 for her plans to establish the Caravan Theatre. The new touring theatre company will deliver hard-hitting, immersive issue-based plays in an especially adapted caravan at universities and colleges around the country.

Cassie, who currently works as a performer for the Grand Theatre of Lemmings, said: “This is unbelievable. Essex Startups helps you really focus on what you are trying to achieve and what you are aiming to do. The mentors asked really good questions and gave me lots of food for thought about where I want to take the business in the future and how it can progress.”

Essex graduates Hassan Uthman and Lanre Gbadamosi caught the imagination of the mentors with their proposal for Flipper, an App which will allow students to swap, buy and sell items securely and safely and received £1,500 to help turn their dream into a reality.

Lanre said: “We are aiming for Flipper to be in every university. Essex Startups has been a great experience. We now have a name, we have a direction, we have a USP, we have a fully completed business plan and we have set our goals.”

Hassan said: “Christine from Essex Startups has been amazing she helped us at every stage. The whole process was very enjoyable.”

Essex Startups 2015

Beauty app Glamville is being developed by a group of Essex students. Student Wumi Ogunyemi was the team member who had to face the mentors and she walked away with £1,000 worth of investment for Glamville. She said: “This was an amazing process and allowed us to investigate our business plan so we could find the best way to monetize our app.”

Falafillo had a tasty idea to offer a new food range offering Falafel as a healthier choice. The team which includes students Laris Hulswitt, Abdul Razouk, Omar Abdulkarim and Abdulhay Aborsan received £1,000 of investment.

The Essex Startups mentors included Kim Trotter and Amy Bramwell from Eastern Enterprise Hub, management specialist Barry van Eupen, Laurie Pryce from AA Waste Services Norwich and Bridget Tighe from Colchester Community Voluntary Services.

Enterprise Officer Christine Michaelis, from the Employability and Careers Centre, said: “Our students and graduates have come up with amazing ideas for businesses and the Essex Startups programme has encouraged them to really think through their plans in detail. The mentors were really impressed by the enthusiasm and commitment of all the teams taking part.”

The Employability and Careers Centre has an extensive programme of support at Essex to encourage students to develop their own business ideas.

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