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Entrepreneurs share £75,000 prize money at Venture Further Awards

07 May 2021

The winners of the 2021 Venture Further business start-up competition have been announced during an online awards ceremony

Venture Further Awards

Hosted by serial-entrepreneur and philanthropist Vikas Shah MBE, 15 teams of entrepreneurs have been awarded a share of a £75,000 cash prize fund to help take their start-ups to the next level.

Joined by Deputy President and Deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor Luke Georghiou and previous Venture Further winner Beenish Siddique, Founder and CEO of AEH Innovative Hydrogel, the evening was a celebration of innovation and entrepreneurship at The University of Manchester. 

The annual Venture Further competition, run by the Masood Entrepreneurship Centre, invites students and recent graduates from across our University to submit their business proposals to an expert judging panel of enterprise and business professionals. The competition offers an exclusive opportunity to win a significant cash injection to help realise their business goals.

From a healthy number of entries, 25 teams reached the final round. In each of the five categories – Environmental, Healthcare, Services, Social and Technology – five teams competed for the top cash prize of £10,000. Second place winners were awarded £3,500 and third place £1,500.

This year’s winners are:

Environmental category: IGOLO

An online hub promoting sustainability in the home construction industry by making the know-how, materials and expertise more accessible to homeowners. Sophia Major, MArch Architecture, School of Environment, Education and Development (Alumni Class of 2020) Florence Quinn, MSc Biology (Alumni Class of 2020)

Healthcare category:  Simplex Molecular

A biotech start-up developing a new diagnostic system to detect antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Its innovative system will allow users to perform the test without laboratory equipment or complex training. Maribel Montufar Martinez, PhD student, School of Biological Sciences, Karen M Garcia Rodriguez, PhD student, School of Materials

Services category:  What’s Fresh

A platform enabling customers to order high quality fresh local produce, by modernising the ‘shop local’ experience and giving local farmers a competitive advantage. Ross Neilson, MBA, AMBS (Alumni Class of 2019)

Social category:  Arkisites

Improving racial diversity and inclusion in the technical sector, acting in a strategic consulting role to support diversity and inclusion agendas. Elijah Ajuwon, MSc Innovation Management and Entrepreneurship, AMBS

Technology category: Bright Biotech Limited

Developing high quality and affordable recombinant proteins in plants for research and the therapeutic market. Mohammad El Hajj, PhD School of Biological Sciences (Alumni Class of 2018)

Director of the Masood Entrepreneurship Centre, Lynn Sheppard said: “We are now in the 16th year of the competition, and we received entries from a number of Schools from every Faculty in the University, demonstrating that the appetite for entrepreneurship is increasing here at our University.

“The standard and quality of business proposals submitted were impeccable, with candidates spotting prevalent problems and conducting thorough market research to submit both credible and viable business plans. 

“The competition has been a phenomenal success culminating in a fantastic online awards event which aired not only regionally and nationally but also internationally with audience members watching in Singapore, Zambia, Canada and Japan.

“We look forward to support all the winners in furthering their start-ups and making them a success.”

If you missed the online awards evening, you can watch a recording.

Venture Further 2021 was supported by: IBM, Slalom, and Vita Student