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Sparking student ideas for business

Press release issued: 5 October 2010

Budding entrepreneurs were given a financial boost in the University of Bristol’s annual Spark start-up course which helps students turn their bright ideas into new business.

Thirty-five students competed for their share of a £1,000 prize fund during the course, in which students are given practical advice, seminars, information and a series of challenges. The students pitched their business plans to a panel of venture capitalists, local entrepreneurs, successful business-leading alumni, and business experts from the University.

The winning team, Origin Creations, who shared the £1,000 between them, were: Keshan Bolaky, Laurence Birch (both Chemistry), James Burdett (Economics & Management), Peter Martin (Chemistry & Law), and Mary Spender (Music). Their idea for a new multi-purpose cleaning product sourced from entirely naturally-occurring substances was praised by the panel for the breadth of their research and the quality of their presentation.

The course was run at Burwalls with guest speakers including Nick Sturge and Greville Commins from the SETsquared Business Acceleration Centre, Enterprise Role of Honour Alumni Jaya Chakrabarti from Nameless, Mark Warne from venture capital firm IPGroup, The Army also attended to teach the students’ teamwork skills.

Dave Jarman, Enterprise Skills and Education Manager for Research and Enterprise Development (RED) said: "In the current climate, a student’s ability to generate ideas, articulate those ideas, and back themselves to succeed are really critical. Spark provides a substantial commercial grounding to students whether they’re planning on starting their own businesses or planning to be innovators in existing companies.

“Government is looking at graduates to provide the next wave of companies to boost the economy; Spark is just one way we’re helping forge those graduates.”

For further details of student enterprise activities being run this autumn, visit www.bristol.ac.uk/studententerprise.