Enterprising Kingston University students impress judges with creative business concepts at annual Bright Ideas final

Posted Wednesday 14 February 2018

A wireless button to pause Netflix that can be stuck to any surface and a Back to the Future-style magnetic gadget that automatically fastens shoelaces were among the winning entries in this year's Bright Ideas final a Dragons' Den-style competition hosted each year by Kingston University's Enterprise Education team.

The University's global reputation as a hotbed of entrepreneurial talent was once again on show with no fewer than 650 students entering this year's contest.

Entrants from courses across the University were whittled down to a select group of finalists who pitched to an expert panel of judges including a number of previous winners and successful entrepreneurial alumni to compete for up to £1,000 to help them turn their creative concepts into a business reality.

This year's awards were separated into eight categories including online technology, products, services, social enterprise, a science, health and wellbeing accolade and a special Silicon Valley prize awarded by a virtual panel which was pitched and judged via video link to the United States.

Kingston University students from across all faculties pitched a variety of creative ideas to a panel of judges.There were also two engineering prizes, both sponsored by industry scholarship provider Sainsbury Management Fellows. Each category included a prize of £1,000 towards developing an idea through additional training, capital, networking and prototyping for the winner, with runners-up receiving £250.

Among the winners were aerospace engineering students Gabriel Dransfield, Sam Eady, James Richardson and Joe Doyle, who created StiKEY a small wireless button that can be programmed to perform any computer keyboard command and can stick to any surface.

Gabriel, a third-year aerospace engineering, astronautics and space technology student, explained how the whole experience of Bright Ideas had really improved their entrepreneurial skills and understanding of business.

"I had the idea for StiKEY when I realised how inconvenient it was to pause Netflix," he said. "The University, through its Enterprise team, has offered us great opportunities to refine presentation techniques, improve our understanding of business planning and network with successful entrepreneurs to gain further contacts and guidance.

"We would like to use the prize to develop our business plan further and continue using the expert knowledge that Enterprise provides us with to move forward and get the business off the ground."

Others taking home prizes included the team behind Magnoz an easy-to-use magnetic gadget for fastening shoe laces created by business administration students Shubham Jangid, Yashi Singhvi, Michael Dimitrov, Anish Bhoara and Naitik Bohara.

Having delivered their pitches, students were then able to network with members of the judging panel who were on hand to offer expertise and answer their questions.While medical biochemistry student Ona Aniliontyé also scooped an award for her Dehydration Indicator a paper stick that can be placed on the tongue to detect the amount of electrolytes in saliva, allowing family members to quickly establish when children and elderly people are becoming dehydrated.

The judging panel for each category consisted of a mix of leading entrepreneurs and Kingston University alumni many of who were once Bright Ideas contestants themselves.

They included nursing graduate Neomi Bennett, who was recently awarded a British Empire Medal in the Queen's New Year's honours list, and US-based technology start-up consultant and accounting and finance graduate Rishi Jobanputra who formed part of the Silicon Valley video-link panel.

Santander UK's regional director Paul Theaker, who was part of the panel for the social enterprise category, spoke of how impressed he was with the candidates' passion and entrepreneurial flair. "It was really encouraging to meet the students and hear about their passion for making a difference to society," he said. "The dedication that students have put into this and the support that the University provides them with is inspirational – and I really hope that all participants take on board the advice given to them to carry on chasing the success that their talent deserves."

Head of Enterprise Education at Kingston University Dr Martha Mador urged students to take advantage of the mentoring and advice available to them at the University and continue their journey towards being the creative talents of the future. "Our students never fail to exceed expectations with their entrepreneurial spirit and desire to create and innovate," she said.

"Everybody who entered this year should be really proud of their efforts and we hope they will continue to develop their ideas and dreams and see where it can take them. Here at Kingston University we support all our students who want to create or develop a business model around an idea through mentoring, coaching, and creating networking and funding opportunities. Bright Ideas is a fantastic competition that incorporates all of these aspects of our work."

The Enterprise programme at Kingston University is open to all students and recent graduates. It provides aspiring entrepreneurs with the opportunity to attend high-profile speaker events featuring as well as regular workshops, coaching and mentoring sessions.

Kingston University is a partner of Santander Universities Division which manages Santander's long-term strategic alliance with higher education. During the past three years, Santander Universities has provided more than £350,000 of funding for Kingston University programmes, scholarships and internships benefitting thousands of students, staff and members of the surrounding community.

• See the winners and runners-up from this year's Bright Ideas Final.

• Find out more about Enterprise at Kingston University.

This year's Bright Ideas winners and runners-up received £1,000 and £250 respectively towards helping them to turn their ideas into a business model.

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