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Entrepreneurs celebrated at University Enterprise Awards

PUBLISHED: 14:37 15 July 2013 | UPDATED: 14:44 15 July 2013

Entrepreneurs celebrated at University Enterprise Awards

Entrepreneurs celebrated at University Enterprise Awards

Entrepreneurs celebrated at University Enterprise Awards

Compered by Edward Gillespie, former Managing Director of Cheltenham Racecourse, the event showcased the exceptional entrepreneurial skills demonstrated by talented individuals and by organisations

who have supported the University and its students in enterprising activity.

Over 150 invited guests from the county’s business community mingled with university staff and students at the event before the winners were revealed by chairman of the judging panel and editor of the Gloucestershire Echo, Kevin Blackadder. This year’s judges included:

• University Chancellor, Baroness Rennie Fritchie

• Julian Dunkerton, Chief Executive of Super Group

• David Owen, Chief Executive of the Gloucestershire Local Enterprise Partnership

• John Thurston, Chairman of the Watts Group.

Kevan said: “Speaking on behalf of us all, I can honestly say we were not only impressed by the entries, but also inspired by them. The finalists showed real evidence of the entrepreneurial spirit that exists amongst the University’s staff and business partners.

The winners include University graduate Zak Aravantinos in the Legacy category for developing home support agency, Access your Care. Zak started the company with £3000 capital and has bought together over 10 providers to create a ‘one stop shop’ for care services in North Somerset.

The achievements of current University staff and students were applauded, with University of Gloucestershire student and Youth Involvement Officer, Nicola Sage winning the student award for the ZeeTee campaign to eradicate homophobic language and behavior as part of her work with Wiltshire Council. And the teaching team from the Editorial and Advertising Photography programme, Matthew Murray, Trudie Ballantyne and Grant Scott were winners for their international and local collaborative projects with companies such as SuperDry, Converse China and bike company, Specialized.

Other winners included Dr Andy Pitchford, Lionel Hurst and Rob Webber for creating the University of Gloucestershire All Golds rugby league club and design tutors, Nick Sargeant and John Brewer, for their contribution to setting up the Cheltenham Design Festival.

In the Enterprise Education category, the judges gave the award to two joint winners - Ray Olivier representing the Football League’s Professional Game Match Officials, and the University’s Playwork Partnerships team, Leonie Burton, Karen Benjamin and Kelly Conibere.

The Jerry Jones Award for Social Enterprise was presented by Harry Nutt from Treecreepers to University administrator, Barbara Rainbow, for her work with the Romanian charity; HEAL (Hope for Each Abandoned Life.)

University Vice-Chancellor Stephen Marston said: “The University is passionate about encouraging and celebrating enterprise - amongst our students, staff and partners. We all benefit from enterprise. Enterprise drives economic growth, when people create new and better products and businesses. It drives better public and community services, when people see better ways of doing things and take the initiative to make them happen. When students and staff, supported by our many partners, develop the confidence and know-how to take the plunge and put their bright ideas into practice, everyone gains. Our annual enterprise awards, now in their third year, show the huge variety of initiative, new ideas and ingenuity here in our community.”

Julie Moore, Managing Director of Green Gourmet and Oli Christie, Chief Executive of Neon Play delivered the engaging and inspiring keynote speeches.

The category finalists are as follows with the winners in bold:

Innovation Partnership Award

To recognise innovative projects delivered in partnership between the University and organisation(s) where significant change or growth has been achieved as a result of collaboration. Open to all employers/employees, students, staff and alumni (former students)

Nick Sargeant (Subject Group Leader - Design) and John Brewer (Course Leader - Graphic Design) – University of Gloucestershire

• Sara Newell (Manager - Student Graduate Markets) and Rachel Veevers (Campaign Executive - Student Team) – Endsleigh Insurance Ltd

Enterprise Education Award

To recognise innovation in learning solutions developed in partnership between the University and organisation(s), for example, short courses, CPD or bespoke programmes created in conjunction with business. Open to all employers/employees, students, staff and alumni (former students)

• Ray Olivier (Training and Development Manager) - Professional Game Match Officials Ltd (PGMOL) (joint winners)

• Leonie Burton (Development Manager), Karen Benjamin (Training Officer) and Kelly Conibere (Projects Officer) - Playwork Partnerships, University of Gloucestershire (joint winners)

Enterprising Staff Award

To recognise a member of University staff who has demonstrated enterprising behaviour, developed new enterprise solutions to support the University’s engagement with the business community, or who have encouraged others to be enterprising in doing so. Open to all staff.

• Dr Kevin Hapeshi, Head of Computing & Technology - University of Gloucestershire

• Anne Dawson, Head of Media - University of Gloucestershire

Matthew Murray, Trudie Ballantyne and Grant Scott, Centre for Art & Photography - University of Gloucestershire

Employability Champion Award

To recognise organisations and individuals who have offered valuable enterprise support and engagement, for example, hosting placement students, supporting internships or offering mentoring to students. Open to all employers/employees.

• Laura Ballard – University of Gloucestershire Students’ Union

• Michael Pain - Amber Business

Dr Andy Pitchford, Lionel Hurst and Rob Webber - University of Gloucestershire All Golds Rugby League team

Enterprising Student Award

To recognise enterprising students who have demonstrated enterprising behaviour, developed new enterprise solutions to support the University’s engagement with the business community, or who have encouraged others to be enterprising.

Open to all students

• Nicola Sage - University of Gloucestershire student and Youth Involvement Officer, Voice and Influence Team, Wiltshire Council

• Simon Carr - Second Year Advertising Student and Student Enterprise Network President 2012/13 - University of Gloucestershire

Enterprising Legacy Award

To recognise individuals who since leaving the University, whether as a former student or member of staff, have gone on to achieve something particularly enterprising.

Open to all alumni (former students) and former members of staff of the University

• Zak Aravantinos - Access Your Care

• David Doane-Swanson - Hungry Planet Games Ltd

• Pia Cato - The Vanilla Pod Bakery

• Emmanuel Akintunde - GF Drums Ltd/Jilali Argan Oil UK

Jerry Jones Award for Social Enterprise

This special award was chosen from all the entrants to all categories for the organisation or individual whose endeavours are motivated for the good of others.

Barbara Rainbow

University celebrates budding entrepreneurs

Following a competitive pitch process, eight groups of finalists vying for two top awards, were invited to join representatives from the University and guests from local businesses at the University’s Enterprise Awards evening at the Park Campus in Cheltenham.

Jack Pursey, a second year Marketing, Advertising and Communications student scooped the first prize of £1000 in the ‘Open Award’ category with his business idea ‘Seen Clothing, an online ‘fast-fashion’ retailer that rapidly adapts to market trends sourcing and bringing products to market as soon as its clients identify them. The award was open to all of the University’s students, staff and recent alumni who are in the process of starting their own business.

The Runner-up and winner of £500 was Alexandra Longley, a recent MA Landscape Architecture graduate, with her business concept ‘Natural Explorers,’ children’s natural play programme offering a series of seasonally specific parent/child sessions devoted to reconnecting children with the natural world.

The competition also awarded £500 to Luke Reed, Adedoyin Adebayo, Sean Williams and Leonard Niehues in the ‘Taught Award’ category which is open to students who have studied business planning as part of their degree course, creating a theoretical business idea. Luke, Adedoyin, Sean and Leonard, all final year business students, impressed the judges with their e-Vision business plan, a communication interaction service app, to improve communication amongst parents, teachers and pupils.

The annual Business Plan Competition aims to promote enterprise and innovation amongst University staff, students and alumni and encourage entrepreneurial thinking and business start-up.

Over 150 students have taken part in this year’s programme which includes a series of interactive business planning workshops, speed mentoring sessions and guest speaker events.

Participants were asked to produce a 20-page business plan for a new business idea. The management teams of the best plans were then selected to deliver a 10-minute presentation on their business idea to the competition judges.

Dr Richard O’Doherty, Deputy Vice-Chancellor of the University said:

“It was a real pleasure to be able to meet all the finalists and to award trophies to the winners of the Business Plan Competition. There were some brilliant ideas for new business ventures and I am sure many of those finalists we celebrated last night will develop into successful entrepreneurs. The Business Plan Competition is tangible evidence of the University of Gloucestershire’s commitment to work in partnership with the business community to develop entrepreneurial flair and employability skills in all our students. This is evidenced by our latest Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) statistics showing that the percentage of our graduates who are obtaining jobs or engaging in further study has increased yet again and continues to be above our benchmark.”

The competition was judged by Fiona Spencer (CIM – Chartered Institute of Marketing), Scott Harvey (CMI – Chartered Management Institute), Emma Heathcote-James (Little Soap Company), Julie Powell (NatWest), Ollie Newbold (Randall & Payne accountants), Steven Murray (Harrison Clark Rickerbys) and Clive Kerridge (University of Gloucestershire Business School).

Preparations are underway for the 2013/14 programme. Anyone who has graduated from the University of Gloucestershire is eligible to take part, along with current University staff and students. More information is available by calling 01242 714104 or emailing enterprise@glos.ac.uk

The Business Plan Competition is currently funded by the Higher Education Innovation Fund (HEIF) with support from Basepoint Business Centres, Bexmedia, Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM), Chartered Management Institute (CMI), Harrison Clark Rickerbys Solicitors, Marketest online market research, NatWest and Randall & Payne Accountants.

Full case studies of all the winners and finalists can be found at


Photos from the event are available for download at http://www.flickr.com/photos/uniofglos/sets/72157634490903697/

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