Entrepreneurial students invited to bid for InvEnterPrize 2018

Ben Jones

The 2018 edition of Aberystwyth University’s student enterprise competition has been launched, with a £10,000 prize on offer to the winning entry. 

InvEnterPrize, now in its fourth edition, offers entrepreneurial students an opportunity to pitch their ideas to a panel of distinguished, successful Aberystwyth University alumni chaired by Professor Donald Davies of Imperial College, London.

The successful entry will be able to invest its winnings in equipment, facilities or professional services to turn an invention or business start-up idea into reality.

Also up for grabs this year will be free office space for one year at the Aberystwyth Innovation & Enterprise Campus, which is offered for proposals for the bio-sciences, life sciences and agriculture sectors.

However, InvEnterPrize is not just about winning the top prize.

Entrants will be able to seek expert advice and attend a series of workshops and presentations led by successful entrepreneurs as they develop their final bids, gaining valuable advice on the way.

A short list of finalists will be invited to present their business propositions to the panel of judges in a Dragon’s Den event on Monday 19 March 2018.

The 2018 edition was launched on Monday 13 November by Professor Elizabeth Treasure, Vice-Chancellor of Aberystwyth University.

Professor Treasure said: “It gives me great pleasure to launch InvEnterPrize 2018. Universities are key players when it comes to sustaining and promoting economic activity in their local areas, and their cutting edge research underpins many of the technological advancements of our age. Equally, we are about encouraging creativity, originality and entrepreneurship amongst our students, and I am delighted to see InvEnterPrize offering the opportunity to develop and potentially launch a successful business venture and career.”

This year’s entrants will be looking to emulate the success of Kar-go, who scooped the top prize in 2017.

The brainchild of students Ariel Ladegaard and Aparajit Narayan, and former student Pasi William Sachiti, Kar-go is a concept driverless delivery vehicle.

Ariel and Pasi were presented with a cheque for £10,000 by The Apprentice winner Alana Spencer.

Chair of the InvEnterPrize judging panel, Professor Donald Davies said: “I am very pleased, once again, to be a member of the judging panel for InvEnterPrize. Aberystwyth helped me create my career and to have the opportunity to encourage a new generation of students in business is terrific. We are looking for a spark in our potential winner or winning team; foremost the idea needs to be unique and achievable but we also want a student or students that believe in their product and have the tenacity to see it through.”

Sponsored by contributions from the University’s alumni, InvEnterPrize is organised by the University’s Careers Service.

The original concept has been developed over several years by the University’s entrepreneurship champion, Tony Orme.

Speaking at the launch, Tony said: “Students have access to some of our most influential business alumni; to pick their brains and find out the secret to success. The money is a wonderful assistance to start-up costs but it is the advice and support that will be most valuable. We are lucky to have graduates that want to give back and be involved with the students and their generosity, in time and funds is inspirational.”

Launched in 2012, the inaugural InvEnterPrize winner was Jake Stainer and his language learning website www.Papora.com.

Jake Stainer said of the opportunity: “I had the idea for Papora for a few years but never had any type of funding. In my second year at Aberystwyth University I decided to apply. Having won, InvEnterPrize has taken my business to the next level and I've been able to achieve so many things that wouldn't have been possible before. Papora is growing every month thanks to InvEnterPrize.”

Director of Development & Alumni Relations, Louise Jagger said: “InvEnterPrize can mean so much to someone with a great idea that needs the financial support and guidance to take it off the ground. We are very grateful to the alumni who continue to give so generously towards the Aber Fund which funds the prize money and to the alumni and supporters giving time on the judging panel.”

Aberystwyth University offers a full programme of events to support entrepreneurial activity amongst students, alumni and staff. To find out more visit the AberPreneurs online pages here.