The winners of an innovation competition have just been announced. Image courtesy of: iStock
The winners have been announced of a a nationwide business plan competition have been announced.
The year-long RBS EnterprisingU competition - a collaboration between Find Invest Grow (FIG)
, the Royal Bank of Scotland
(RBS) Group and LinkedIn
- was open to any student or graduate of the past five years.
1,317 entrants entered the competition in the last seven weeks alone. A shortlist of six ideas were picked to present to a panel of judges that included business luminaries such as Dylan Williams of Coutts, Peter Ibbetson
, RBS Small Business Chairman, Peter Murphy, founding Director of Camelot and Rupert Turnbull, the publisher of Wired. Each company had just ten minutes to present their idea as well as answer probing questions from the panel in front of an audience of around 150 early stage investors and press.
SalesGossip, an online service that alerts bargain hunters immediately when a new sale is announced, won the top prize of £25,000.
Commenting on the SalesGossip triumph, co-founder Elizabetta Camilleri said: “We’re proud to have won, especially considering the very high calibre of the other start-ups shortlisted. We are thrilled with the endorsement of our hard work to date and the prize will help us make the online and mobile service even better. Of course, we would love to spend the money shopping for shoes in the summer sales but alas we’ve got bigger and better plans and will spend it on building more functionality into the current online and mobile service, so watch this space.”
University of East London
’s Thomas Lipinski of Ventive, a company that plans to produce a Passive Heat Recovery Ventilation Unit, came in second, winning £10,000, while Windows Phone Geek, a marketplace for Windows Phone app developers started by Boryana Miloshevska and Yordan Pavlov from UCL, took £5,000 for third place.
Initial submissions for the RBS EnterprisingU were made through FIG’s platform, a free-to-use online tool that provides a framework to build and critically assess the viability of entrants’ business plans. The application process and judging criteria focused on discovering the business success stories of the future.
James King, co-founder and managing director of FIG, said: “The competition was incredibly well received. It is phenomenal to see so many students and recent graduates inspired to start their own businesses. The six companies at the final represented various states of proof of concept and development and it has been exciting to see how they’ve grown since they first entered the competition to where they are today. While SalesGossip thoroughly deserved to win, all of the finalists have great potential and we will continue to support them all going forward.”
In addition, Peter Ibbetson, Small Business Chairman, NatWest
and RBS, said: “This competition proves we have the fresh new talent Britain needs to bring business ideas to life. It was inspiring to witness such innovative ideas from students and recent graduates - after all, they will be our business leaders of the future.”
Talking about its involvement in the scheme, Amy Miller, Marketing Manager, LinkedIn UK said: “LinkedIn is very proud to sponsor this RBS competition, which nicely ties in with LinkedIn’s mission of supporting economic opportunity for every professional in the world – including the young professionals and entrepreneurs of tomorrow. We wish all of those that took part, and of course those that won, all the very best on their career journeys.”
Other finalists included Bertie and Bean, a children’s clothing exchange, CHADEX, a marketplace providing charities with access to donated premium online advertising space, and Unisport, a sports media company focused on university sport.
The event was finished with a keynote address from Peter Molyneux
, the video game designer and serial entrepreneur, who said: "I love events like these that celebrate good ideas. I just wish that they existed when I started out because - as an entrepreneur - it's a very tough world. As an entrepreneur you’ve got to have unbelievable drive and incredible courage - and a doggedness to pick yourself up and carry on. All six finalists should be congratulated. Looking through these ideas, there's a real energy and passion to everyone."
The competition is the second project RBS Group, LinkedIn and FIG have collaborated on. The three firms have run an accreditation scheme, sponsored by RBS Group and LinkedIn, the RBS Enterprising Student Societies Accreditation (RBS ESSA) that rewards and encourages entrepreneurship in student societies.