Emerging entrepreneurs Cosi Care and Scribeless win prestigious unversity business pitching competition

  • Winners of the Santander Universities Entrepreneurship Awards 2019 unveiled
  • Cosi Care from Brunel University London and Scribeless from University of Bristol win top prizes of £25,000 funding

Top emerging entrepreneurs who could be the nation’s next business success story have been unveiled at the ninth annual Santander Universities Entrepreneurship Awards 2019, one of the UK’s largest entrepreneurial business pitching competitions for students and recent graduates.

The two talented winners which will receive £25,000 worth of seed funding towards their forward-thinking businesses are:

  • Cosi Care, the first company to create technology to treat Eczema, from Brunel University London; and
  • Scribeless, which uses artificial intelligence and advanced printing technology to create handwritten letters, from the University of Bristol.

The winners were announced by Nathan Bostock, CEO of Santander UK, and received their awards from Susan Allen, Head of Retail and Business Banking, and Matt Hutnell, Director of Santander Universities in the UK, at the event held at the University of Westminster.

At the event, which hosted students and colleagues from across the country, Nathan Bostock, Santander UK’s CEO, stressed the importance of supporting entrepreneurial talent and said: “We were truly impressed by the commitment, talent and inspiring ideas presented this year. We have a long-term commitment to supporting higher education and we are proud to take an active role in fostering entrepreneurship among university students.”

Lauren Bell, Founder of Cosi Care said: “Winning the Santander Universities Entrepreneurship Awards is absolutely amazing. The prize will enable us to take our product all the way to the shop floor in six months! The support I’ve had throughout the competition has been incredible and we’ve made connections for life. Such a great all-round experience.”

Robert Van Den Bergh, Founder of Scribeless said: “It’s fantastic to win the Santander Universities Entrepreneurship Awards. The support we’ve had throughout has been instrumental in driving forward the growth of the business. It’s been a really great experience which will now enable us to continue growing our team and provide handwritten marketing to more companies around the world.”

From over 151 entries from universities across the UK, twelve student businesses were shortlisted. These finalists were whittled down to the two winners following a tough selection process. This included each student having to pitch their business to a panel of business experts. These judges included: Dr Margaret Casely-Hayford CBE, Chancellor, Coventry University; Julie Devonshire, Director of the Entrepreneurship Institute, King’s College London; Jack Bowman, Partner, Oxbridge Capital Investments and Tara Chandra, Co-Founder, FLO.

The runners up in each category: Skate It Yourself, which runs engaging courses for children to learn how to skateboard safely, from the University of Huddersfield; and Spyras, which uses paper-based sensors to collect real-time breathing data through a mobile app in order to predict hospital patient deterioration, from Loughborough University, will receive £15,000 of seed funding to go towards further development of their business ideas.

In addition to the two winners and two runners up, Bet On Me, the world’s first mobile health application that delivers personalised Cogitative Behavioural Therapy to those at risk or out of control with their gambling habits, from the University of Sheffield, was voted by the audience at the awards event as their People’s Choice and won a prize of £7,500 of seed funding and an intern fully funded by Santander.

The businesses shortlisted for the final took part in an accelerator week in August 2019, which provided them with a unique educational experience led by a series of innovative businesses and speakers. During that week, the finalists took part in a series of workshops and masterclasses aimed at helping them understand how to get the most from their business.

These entrepreneurs are not simply making a short-term impact within their university environment. Last year’s winners, WASE and Chip[s] Board(1), have already moved into commercial premises and taken on additional staff. In total, businesses supported by the awards since 2011 which have grown successfully have generated revenues in excess of £7million(2), demonstrating their ability to move from student businesses to fully fledged start-ups and on to profitable and sustainable businesses. A couple of previous winners, who are now running successful businesses, joined the judging panel this year including Gareth Irvine, Founder & Managing Director of The Copeland Distillery and Rebecca Pick, CEO of Pick Protection.

Since the Entrepreneurship Awards were first launched, Santander Universities has funded more than £420,000 in support for budding student entrepreneurs as well as giving universities the chance to showcase up and coming entrepreneurial talent from across the UK. Overall, Santander Universities has provided over £2m of funding each year to support entrepreneurship across its 86 UK university partners.  

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Notes to Editors

1) Last year’s winners were WASE, which provides decentralised wastewater treatment systems that embrace the circular economy and recover energy, nutrients and water, and Chip[s] Board, an eco-friendly alternative to chip board and MDF made from potato waste. Thomas Fudge, one of the founders of WASE and Rowan Minkley, founder and CEO of Chip[s] Board were awarded the top prizes of £25,000.  

2) Data compiled by Santander Universities amongst the 63 finalists and winners of the Entrepreneurship Awards between 2011-2017 which have grown successfully shows these have had revenues in excess of £7,000,000. 

3) About the 2019 Finalists:

Winners & Runners-Up

  • Cosi Care, Brunel University London
    Cosi Care is the first company to create technology to treat Eczema. The first hand-held product that cools and soothes itching in seconds, keeps bacteria filled nails from damaging the skin and finally a form of instant effective relief. 
    https://www.cosicare.co.uk/ 
     
  • Scribeless, University of Bristol
    Scribeless utilises artificial intelligence, colour-physics mimicking algorithms and on-demand printing technology to create handwritten marketing which is indiscernible from human-written letters. 
    www.scribeless.co   
     
  • Skate It Yourself, University of Huddersfield
    Skate It Yourself runs engaging courses for children aged 5-19 to learn how to skateboard safely. 
    www.skateityourself.com 
     
  • Spyras, Loughborough University
    Spyras uses paper-based sensors to collect real-time breathing data of hospital patients to provide instant detailed lung function analysis through a user-friendly mobile app. 
    www.spyras.com

People’s Choice Winner

  • Bet on Me, University of Sheffield
    Start-up launched to pioneer a novel drone service to improve healthcare delivery for both rural and urban communities.

Other Finalists

  • HIT Recognition, Heriot-Watt University
    HIT’s vision is to become the Global leader in the head impact recognition technology - becoming the leader across multiple sporting disciplines and providing an accessible product to all players and communities to indicate when they require medical assessment with regards to head impacts and G-force change. 
    www.hitrecognition.co.uk   
     
  • Lanterne, University of Oxford
    Lanterne (previously known as Conflict Scanner) is an online platform which enables NGOs, charities, businesses and individuals to make informed decisions about their safety in conflict zones.
     
  • Ma’s House, University of Portsmouth
    Ma's House specialises in digital clothing labels for the blind and severely visually impaired. The prototype has a NFC chip that uses a mobile app to verbally communicate a garments colour, pattern, silhouette, recommended season and coordinating garments. 
    www.mashouse.org   
     
  • Manimekala, University of Westminster 
    Manimekala is exciting, contemporary fashion made responsibly, for the customer that values aesthetics and ethics. 
    https://www.manimekala.com/
      
  • Panakeia Technologies, Kings College London
    Panakeia makes cancer diagnosis simpler, faster and cheaper by reducing the need for multiple tests. 
    www.panakeia.ai
     
  • RIVALKIT, University of EdinburghRIVALKIT provides a fully bespoke solution for sports clubs, with regards custom clothing, with the ability to put the full range online to be bought at any time and no minimum orders or order windows. www.rivalkit.com
      
  • SEME, University of Glasgow
    SEME is a budding social enterprise that brings together different services and innovative technology to support society’s most vulnerable groups.
     
  • The BioFactory Ltd, University of Bath
    The BioFactory is a social enterprising start-up based in Bath, that is dedicated to the management of sanitation in refugee camps in sub-Saharan Africa. 
    https://the-biofactory.com

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Santander Universities
Santander, through Santander Universities, tops the list of Fortune 500 in investment in education (Source: Varkey Report/UNESCO). The Bank has established partnerships with over 1,200 universities in 20 countries, of which over 80 are in the UK. Through these agreements Santander promotes entrepreneurship, employability and internationalisation. For further information please visit:

www.santander.co.uk/uk/santander-universities.

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