• Finalists of the Santander Universities Entrepreneurship Awards announced
  • Top prize of £25,000 up for grabs at the national final in London this November
  • Over a quarter of students run or plan to run a business whilst they are at university

The UK’s most entrepreneurial students are unveiled today, each of whom are in with a chance to receive up to £25,000 worth of seed funding. Amongst the finalists of the eighth annual Santander Universities Entrepreneurship Awards may be the nation’s next great business success story.

These are one of the UK’s largest business awards for students and recent graduates where the best and most forward thinking entries can receive cash prizes, mentoring and start-up support.

Matt Hutnell, Director of Santander Universities UK commented: “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. They are the business leaders of the future and universities play an important role in nurturing this talent in our local communities. We are delighted to announce the 12 finalists and look forward to judging this year’s most innovative, creative and truly entrepreneurial talent at the final in November.”

Since the awards were launched, Santander Universities has given away more than £340,000 in support for budding student entrepreneurs, and given universities the chance to showcase entrepreneurial talent from across the UK.

Twelve teams have been named as the finalists of the competition:

Non-Technology Category Winners (For more information see Notes to Editors)

  • Azure Foods, University of Oxford
  • Chip (s) Board, Kingston University
  • Citylife UK, University of Nottingham
  • Ezi-Sock, Ulster University
  • Fodilicious, Queen Margaret University
  • Smibbs, Plymouth University

Technology Category Winners

  • Machine Eye, Queens University Belfast
  • POCKIT Diagnostics, University of Cambridge
  • Silver Lion Innovations, University of Strathclyde
  • Supernotes, Kings College London
  • Wase, Brunel University London
  • Work and Communications, Nottingham Trent University

The 12 businesses were selected from a shortlist of 60 semi-finalists, to progress to the final stage having pitched their business idea to a panel of experienced judges in one of the three regional heats. These took place at the end of June and early July and saw Universities from the North, Central and South of the England alongside Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, to compete for a place in the final.

The successful businesses have been invited to attend an accelerator week in August 2018, which will provide them with a unique educational experience led by a series of innovative businesses and speakers. During that week, the finalists will take part in a series of workshops and masterclasses aimed at helping them understand how to get the most from their business. Each of the businesses have also received £500 of seed funding at the semi-final.

The 12 shortlisted teams will then take part in the National Final in London, in November 2018. The students will be competing to be one of two winning entries to win prizes of up to £25,000 of seed funding. The two runners up will receive £15,000 of seed funding. There are also six businesses(6) progressing to the national final that were voted by the audience during the semi-finals as having the greatest social, community or environmental impact. These businesses will compete for £7,500 of seed funding at the national final.

Last year’s winners were BellaMoon®, which provides unique, multifunctional baby products, from Queen’s University Belfast and Jenny Kate from Cardiff Metropolitan University. Irene Breen, the founder of BellaMoon® and up and coming textile artist Jenny Evans, founder of Jenny Kate, were awarded top prizes of £20,000 and £25,000.

Research conducted by Santander Universities(2) to support the launch of the Entrepreneurship Awards revealed that over 450,000 (26 per cent) (1)students currently run or plan to run a business whilst they are at university. Amongst those up and coming student entrepreneurs who have already launched a business, the average turnover is £11,408 per annum, equivalent to a collective £1 billion(3).

The Santander Universities Entrepreneurship Awards are supported by Talent Cupboard, Microsoft, iProspect, Scandinavia Stories, University of Leicester, University of Strathclyde, University of Liverpool and University College London.

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The information contained in our press releases is intended solely for journalists and should not be used by consumers to make financial decisions.

Notes to Editors

Notes to Editors

1) According to the latest HESA Data, there are 1,766,285 full time undergraduate students in the UK. The research shows 26% of students have already started a business, or are planning to do so – a figure of 459,234.

2) Research conducted by YouthSight, 1st – 11th January 2018 amongst a UK representative sample of 2,030 full time undergraduate students.

3) According to 2016/17 HESA Data, there are 1,766,285 full time undergraduate students in the UK. The research shows 6% of students have already started a business, with an average turnover of £11,408 per year. £11,408*(1,766,285*6%) = £1,208,985,616.

4) The 2018 awards are divided into the following categories: A winner and runner up for technology businesses; a winner and runner up for non-technology businesses; and a recently introduced prize for the entry that has the greatest social, community or environmental impact which will be voted for by the audience at the national final. Technology business: This is defined as a business or idea with hardware and/or software central to the businesses value proposition. Non-technology business: This is defined as a business or idea that has a value proposition that is not primarily based around hardware and/or software.

5) About The Finalists

Non-Technology Winners
Azure Foods, University of Oxford
Azure is the first company in Europe to sell Pinole. Pinole is a highly nutritious powder with a delicious roasted taste, traditionally made in Mexico from blue corn. www.azurefoods.uk

Chip(s) Board, Kingston University
Chip[s] Board is an eco-friendly alternative to chip board and MDF made from potato waste. Unlike its resin based counterparts, Chip[s] Board is biodegradable post-use and doesn't contain formaldehyde or any other toxic resins and chemicals. www.chipsboard.com

Citylife UK, University of Nottingham 
Citylife is the first provider to offer a full range of services to facilitate pre-arrival, arrival and the life of an international student coming to the UK by combining information services, social events, trips and adventures for international and Erasmus students. www.citylife-uk.com

Ezi-Sock, Ulster University 
The Ezi-Sock allows users with mobility challenges to put on their socks independently with ease. www.mcanallen.com

Fodilicious, Queen Margaret University
Fodilicious is an innovative and sustainable food business providing the UK’s first low FODMAP, gluten free and diary free, freshly prepared meal options for digestive health and wellbeing. www.fodilicious.com

Smibbs, Plymouth University
Smibbs Skincare is a natural skincare company with products to manage a variety of conditions including eczema, seborrheic dermatitis, very oily skin and cracked dry skin. www.smibbs.co.uk

Technology Winners

Machine Eye Queens University Belfast 
Machine Eye have produced a non-intrusive retrofitable solution for tractors and machinery, to prevent injury and death caused by accidental contact with machinery. www.machine-eye.com

POCKIT Diagnostics, University of Cambridge 
POCKIT diagnostics is a UK- and Ireland-based startup company aimed at improving diagnosis of brain stroke.

Silver Lion Innovations, University of Strathclyde
Silver Lion Innovations Ltd is a Scottish start-up which designs medical devices to help people with mobility challenges turn over in bed, self-manage their condition and take back their independence.

Supernotes, Kings College London
Online collaborative learning platform serving higher-education students, who currently have a hard time creating and sharing their notes. https://supernotes.io

Wase, Brunel University London
WASE develops decentralised wastewater treatment systems that embrace the circular economy to recover energy, nutrients and water that is in the wastewater. www.wase-tech.com

Work and Communications, Nottingham Trent University
A comprehensive, trusting and simple employee data management platform, a personal tracking app with many additional features to create transparency within the workplace and enable users to maintain data and manage their affairs with piece of mind. 

6)  Peoples Choice Winners

Brightsign, Goldsmiths, University of London

BrightSign Glove is a wearable technology in the form of a smart glove equipped with multiple sensors and machine learning software programmed to translate hand gestures to text and speech. It is designed to enable individuals who use sign language as their primary language to communicate directly without the need of an accompanying translator. www.BrightSignGlove.com

Crover, University of Edinburgh

Crover is a Edinburgh-based company based around the commercialisation of an innovative probe for the monitoring of bulk-stored cereal grains and complementary technical services. Crover aims to use its technological edge to benefit the economy, society and the environment worldwide by reducing post-harvest food waste significantly.

Of the Ilk, Goldsmiths, University of London

Of The Ilk is a social enterprise with the mission to improve the environment by turning the tide on plastic and food waste in the UK. Their vision is to become the leading social enterprise in the UK's sustainable food storage sector.

Porta, Thrifty Deliveries, University of Bristol

An application-based delivery service that guarantees delivery of groceries or food within 60 minutes of the order being finalised. Their product helps to reduce delivery costs and remove order threshold due to crowd-ordering.

Recognised, Oxford Brookes University

Recognised is breaking this mould by creating beautiful on-trend jewellery that empowers people to make a statement for the causes they care about. With jewellery, Recognised, aims to leverage the growing demand for customisable jewellery, to ensure a sustainable business, whilst raising funds for causes through unique and beautifully designed ‘Statement ‘Popons’. www.recognised.london

Youcan Recycling, Abertay University

Youcan Recycling is a social enterprise that offers local businesses a free recycling solution and creates part time paid employment opportunities for individuals with additional support needs. 

7) The Santander Universities Entrepreneurship Awards are supported by Talent Cupboard, Microsoft, IProspect, Scandinavia Stories, University of Leicester, University of Strathclyde, University of Liverpool and University College London.

  • Talent Cupboard helps small businesses to grow through high quality, affordable digital marketing - all powered by the digital native generation.
  • At Microsoft their mission is to empower every person and every organisation on the planet to achieve more.
  • iProspect is the UK’s leading performance marketing agency. It creates and delivers innovative marketing programs for some of the world’s most successful brands helping them to stay ahead of the competition.
  • Scandinavia Stories teach students and professionals how to creatively address and overcome business growth challenges. They have particularly strong experience delivering entrepreneurship programmes.

About Us

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: https://www.santander.co.uk/universities

Santander UK is a financial services provider in the UK that offers a wide range of personal and commercial financial products and services. It has brought real competition to the UK, through its innovative products for retail customers and relationship banking model for UK SMEs. At 31 March 2018, the bank has c19,500 employees. It serves around 14 million active customers, via a nationwide branch network, telephone, mobile and online banking; and 64 regional Corporate Business Centres. Santander UK is subject to the full supervision of the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) in the UK. Santander UK plc customers are protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) in the UK.

About Us 
Banco Santander (SAN SM, STD US, BNC LN) is a leading retail and commercial bank, founded in 1857 and headquartered in Spain. It has a meaningful market share in 10 core countries in Europe and the Americas, and is the largest bank in the euro zone by market capitalization. At the end of 2017, Banco Santander had EUR 986 billion in customer funds (deposits and mutual funds), 133 million customers, 13,700 branches and 200,000 employees. Banco Santander made attributable profit of EUR 6,619 million in 2017, an increase of 7% compared to the previous year.

Media Contact
Leonora Burtenshaw at Santander 
Email: leonora.burtenshaw@santander.co.uk Tel: 020 7756 4543

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