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Start-ups given cash boost at Venture Further entrepreneurship awards

21 May 2014

Seven burgeoning businesses have secured a share of a £50,000 prize pot after being announced as winners of the Venture Further awards, the annual start-up competition run by Manchester Enterprise Centre, which is based in Manchester Business School.

Lynn Sheppard, Director of Manchester Enterprise Centre, with winners of the Ven

These cash awards will enable the budding entrepreneurs to get their ideas off the ground and develop promising businesses. 

Open to all students and recent alumni of the University, the competition received a total of 68 entries across the four prize categories: Business, Social, Technology and Graphene.  

After submitting their detailed business proposals for consideration, the 13 shortlisted finalists then had to pitch their idea to a panel of expert judges. All four University faculties produced category winners, who were announced at an awards dinner at the Museum of Science and Industry on Thursday, 8 May.  

Lynn Sheppard, Director of Manchester Enterprise Centre, said: “The standard of entries was the best we have ever seen. We seek to give people the skills, confidence and vital funding to identify and act on new opportunities. 

It’s inspiring to see so many entrepreneurial students and graduates from a range of disciplines that are serious about starting their own business.” 

In the Technology category, knowledge database software specialist Biorelate –established by Faculty of Life Sciences PhD student Daniel Jamieson and School of Computer Science student Radu Nedelcu – secured the top prize of £10,000. Agricultural device developer Tripto, which aims to bridge the gap between state-of-the-art and developing farming industries, was the runner-up and received £2,500. 

Little Missing Piece Co. was awarded first place and £10,000 in the Social category. The business provides support services for the autistic community and is the brainchild of Ryan Anthony Shoesmith, a student of the School of Psychological Sciences. PrizeDream was named runner-up and founder and Manchester Business School student Monique Anderson hopes the £2,500 prize will help her business become the UK’s leading fundraising platform.  

In the Business category, was given the top prize of £10,000. Established by Manchester Business School alumnus Gareth Wilson, it improves the learning to drive experience by helping learner drivers to find and compare pre-screened independent driving instructors and book and pay for lessons online. It also helps driving instructors to better run and manage their business and provide a higher quality learning experience to their pupils. Portuguese egg tart producer Ranata received the runner-up prize of £2,500.

GO Filters is a novel and cost-effective extraction membrane which extracts lithium ions – used in modern day batteries – from seawater. The team behind the business was given a special development award and £5,000 in prize money as the stand-out entrant in the Graphene category.

Dr Martin Henery, Venture Further Competition Director, said: “This year, we received an incredible mix of business proposals addressing major problems, social issues and the use of new technologies.

"Finding early stage funding is one of the most difficult hurdles that entrepreneurs face, and the cash prizes in this competition will enable the winners to continue to develop their ideas.”

For more details of all the winners, visit: