BellaMoon®, which provides unique, multifunctional baby products from Queen’s University Belfast and Jenny Evans Designs, run by an up and coming textile artist from Cardiff Metropolitan University have won the top prizes at the seventh annual Santander Universities Entrepreneurship Awards ceremony, held at the University of Westminster, London.
The awards, which are one of the UK’s largest student and graduate business competitions, support and encourage university students and recent graduates to pursue their business ideas by rewarding the best with cash prizes, mentoring and start-up support. Since the awards were launched, Santander Universities has provided more than £340,000 in support for budding student entrepreneurs, and given universities the chance to showcase entrepreneurial talent from across the UK.
The awards are divided into the following categories: A winner and runner up for early stage businesses (Pre-revenue1); a winner and runner up for more established businesses (Post-revenue1); and the newly introduced People’s Choice category.
The two winning entries were selected from a shortlist of 12 entrepreneurial projects, who pitched their business ideas to a panel of judges consisting of successful entrepreneurs, business leaders and senior members of Santander UK and academia, as well as a live audience. These 12 businesses were selected from over 2000 entries who, over the course of the year, took part in a series of regional heats ahead of reaching the final.
Each of the winners were rewarded with cash prizes of £20,000 for the winner and £10,000 for the runner up in the Pre-revenue category and prizes of £25,000 for the winner and £15,000 for the runner up in the Post-revenue category. Mentoring and support from one of the judges is also offered as part of the prize.
This year’s awards also saw the introduction of the People’s Choice Category. The six chosen projects were given the opportunity to pitch to the audience during the final. Caukin, who work on creative and innovative design and construction projects worldwide, won over the audience and were rewarded with a cash prize of £5,000.
The Winning Projects
Winner: BellaMoon®, Queen’s University Belfast
Runner Up: Bird Sunglasses, Plymouth University
Winner: Jenny Evans Designs, Cardiff Metropolitan University
Runner Up: The Sustainable Clothing Company, University of Exeter
People’s Choice category
Winner: CAUKIN, Cardiff University
During the event, which hosted students from universities and colleges across the country, Nathan Bostock, Santander UK’s CEO, stressed the importance of supporting higher education. He said: “At Santander we recognise the importance of encouraging young entrepreneurs, particularly amongst university students, and we are committed to supporting them every step of the way. We were impressed with the talent, determination and creative thinking showcased today. Student entrepreneurs are the business leaders of tomorrow and are key to the growth and prosperity of our economy. At Santander we want to reward and encourage students who challenge themselves to invent, innovate, create, and be entrepreneurial.”
Irene Breen, BellaMoon®, said: “The Santander Universities Entrepreneurship Awards has been one of the best experiences of my life. At the outset of this journey, I never realised how much support, dedication, time and energy that Santander would be investing into my business. This award provides me with the crucial funding and expertise I need to launch BellaMoon on the global market and elevates my business to a level I never knew possible.”
Jenny Evans, Jenny Evans Designs, said: “I am absolutely over the moon to have won the Santander Universities Entrepreneurship Awards. The support, contacts and encouragement given throughout the competition has been incredible and to win today is just extraordinary. The contacts and funding I will receive is truly life changing for my business. I cannot thank everyone enough, it is such an incredible opportunity and an utter privilege to have won.”
Harry Thorpe, Caukin, said: “We are delighted to have won the People's Choice award for 2017 and we are hugely grateful to everyone who voted for us. Following the competition, we are looking forward to the opportunities and potential projects that lie ahead for us. The prize will go far in enabling us to support communities across the world through architectural design, build and education.”
The Santander Universities Entrepreneurship Awards were supported by Talent Cupboard, Crowdfunder, UnLtd, Microsoft, and iProsect. In addition to the cash prizes all winners and runners-up were rewarded with a package of support from digital agency Talent Cupboard, including a free brochure or e-commerce website to help them kick-start their business.
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Santander Universities UK
Santander, through its Santander Universities division, maintains partnerships with close to 1,200 academic institutions in 20 countries. Santander Universities was introduced in the UK in 2007 and the bank is already collaborating with 83 British Universities and Higher Education Institutions, with agreements focused on promoting international exchange, entrepreneurial activities and the mobility of students and researchers within the network.
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 30 June 2017, the bank serves around 14 million active customers with c19,500 employees and operates through 826 branches (which includes 61 university branches) and 65 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.
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 among the world’s top banks by market capitalization. At the end of June 2017, Banco Santander had EUR 1.65 trillion in managed funds, 131 million customers, 13,800 branches and 200,000 employees. Banco Santander made attributable profit of EUR 3.6 billion in the first half of 2017, an increase of 24% compared to the same period last year.
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