Sporting passion wins out at London 2012 National University Entrepreneurs Finals
20 June 2012
An inspirational group of ten finalists battled it out this week for the opportunity to pitch their London 2012 Olympic inspired businesses to a ‘Dragons’ Den’ panel during the Olympic Games.
At York Race Course, and in partnership with the University of York, the UK’s brightest young entrepreneurs attended the Finals of the National University Entrepreneurs 2012 (NUE 2012) competition, shortly before the Olympic torch passed through the venue on its 80-day journey around the UK.
Nevertheless, only four of the ten could win to present their business plans in a prestigious 'Dragons' Den' event in front of up to 300 international business and education experts. With tough competition the winners were decided by a judging panel consisting of business experts Denise Howard OBE, Simon Bedford, Tony Robards OBE and Andrew Burton.
Despite a varied group of finalists, the winners all had a sporting vision. The four winners were MÖbius of Plymouth University: a technical sailing apparel business working on the science behind sailing, Rapid Sports of Sheffield Hallam University: a design and manufacturing company of high quality composite canoeing equipment, Star Sports Development Ltd of the University of Sheffield: a squash and racketball equipment business promoting the sport with events across the UK, and 1Point6 of Loughborough University: the production of a 3-in-1 recovery and performance sleeve to calm sports injuries.
These businesses started up by students or graduates have all linked themselves with the Olympic movement and taken advice and best practice from London 2012. MÖbius have liaised with the Royal Yachting Association and British Olympic Sailing Committee, while co-director and Plymouth graduate Mark Robinson is a high performance dinghy racer, sailing for Great Britain for the last seven years, bringing his personal experiences to the business.
Rapid Sports director Andrew Thomas (pictured left) has competed in canoe slalom himself and is now a multi-discipline coach for all things water-related. With links with the Team GB canoe team and his knowledge, Thomas is designing a foot rest for the canoe which will be completely new to the sport. You can see our interview with Andrew Thomas here.
William Bennett of Star Sports Development Ltd is looking ahead of the London 2012 Olympics with his sights set on the 2020 Olympics where he is campaigning for the sport of squash to be introduced, to be decided in 2018. You can see William Bennett explain his vision here.
1point6 is also the brain-child of a athlete as director Felicity Milton is an international long-distance runner, and current Loughborough University student. We spoke to Felicity when the winners were announced and you can see our interview with her below.
Upon finishing the Finals, the students then got to see the Olympic Torch carried across York Race Course by Harvey Smith.
On the 1st of August these winners will present their business plan to in a Dragons' Den event in front of well-known TV Dragon Doug Richard and 4 other business experts at the Global Business Summit at the British Business Embassy at Lancaster House.
You can see the full list of finalists here.
By Ruth Faulkner
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Great job Liverpool. Light night killed.
Light night Liverpool at fact, burning up http://instagram.com/p/ZbUw-2kWRw/