Business Plan Competition 2017 winners announced
Thursday, 30 March 2017
Finalists in the Brookes Business Plan Competition 2017 gathered together for the annual awards ceremony recently, to celebrate their successes and congratulate the winners, who together shared £4,000 in prize money.
Finalists in the Brookes Business Plan Competition 2017 gathered together for the annual awards ceremony recently, to celebrate their successes and congratulate the winners, who together shared £4,000 in prize money. The finale was the prize-winners’ showcase, an opportunity for each winner to present a 30 second elevator pitch summarising their ideas, and highlighting the range of innovative talent in the room.
The event follows months of preparation by the entrants, including attending workshops, idea generation and finally producing well-researched business plans to clarify their proposals. The entries were evaluated based on the originality of the idea, the analysis of the market and competition, the operational delivery and management plans and the projected financial performance. The judges, who were on hand at the awards celebration to offer advice and feedback to the finalists, included Claire Lawrey of Grant Thornton UK LLP, Santander’s Simon Poulter, and Olympic Gold Medallist and Director of Foster Development Ltd, Tim Foster, MBE.
Oxford Brookes takes enterprise and enterprising creativity very seriously. It’s a core attribute for our graduates and it’s fascinating to see these innovative ideas come to life. We hope this journey has helped identify and shape the entrepreneur within you.Professor Julie McLeod, Pro Vice-Chancellor for Student Experience, Oxford Brookes University
Tim commented, “The ideas were imaginative and the proposals were very well described which gave the judges an interesting challenge. Above all, the passion and the drive behind the business plans really came through.
He added, “Some of you will receive prizes and some will not. Do not let this be the end of the journey for any of you. There are some really exciting businesses in this room. You should take your passion and your business plans and use this learning experience to enhance your ideas, and break out into the business world.”
The winning ideas included online-ordering for celebration cupcakes, a bicycle parking design consultancy, an app-based parts tracker for independent garages and an opportunity for sports stadiums to enhance their customer comfort and experience.
Oxford Brookes’ Pro Vice-Chancellor for Student Experience, Professor Julie McLeod was delighted to present the prizes, she commented: “Oxford Brookes takes enterprise and enterprising creativity very seriously. It’s a core attribute for our graduates and it’s fascinating to see these innovative ideas come to life. We hope this journey has helped identify and shape the entrepreneur within you.”
Now in its seventh year, the University’s business plan competition is organised by the Research and Business Development team as an action-learning element of its Bite Into Entrepreneurship programme. The programme runs throughout the year and together with the Business Plan Clinic offers a firm foundation in entrepreneurial skills, with one-to-one mentoring alongside. This helps participants develop real-world business skills and understand how to bring their ideas to fruition, but also helps prepare graduates for life beyond university.
Winner LiveX, £1,000
Ainhoa Begiristain Arrondo (Motorsport Engineering) with Sergiu Orzac and Rithvik Dhananjay Reddy
Attendance at sporting stadiums is decreasing owing to high quality coverage and cost-effective, widely available internet viewing options. However, fans and the sport itself loses some of the atmosphere and energy when watched from home. This team conducted an online survey with over 80 respondents, to find out what would bring people back to the stadiums.
Feedback showed that the majority found viewing from home to be more comfortable and avoided the queues for refreshments in the stadium. Missing the live replays, commentary and statistics was also an issue.
The LiveX solution is a handheld device that sports fans hire on entering a stadium. The device offers statistics and live commentary, but also allows visitors to order food and drinks from their seat. The device would be based on a portable tablet supplemented with bespoke software. LiveX would be available for hire with a stadium ticket purchase for a token fee.
The business strategy is to target the stadiums as the client, rather than the end user. The business plan involved working with the sporting team and their partners including betting and merchandising partners, for example.
Ainhoa Begiristain commented, “We’re engineers, we usually come up with ideas to solve problems, but I think we learnt how to implement those ideas in a profitable manner, as well as learning about business finance. We didn’t expect to win, but we are talking to the business development manager here at Brookes and hope to take the plan forward. Winning this competition gives us greater confidence in the idea, as this has been considered by industry experts.”
Runner up The Cupcake Courier, £500
Rachel Eyre (International Business Management)
Winner PocketAuto, £1,000
Everett Diamond (Motorsport Engineering) with Fred Whittaker and William Carlsson
PocketAuto is an app targeted at the independent car repair garages in the UK, who handle a broad customer base which brings in a diverse range of car makes and models for repair. Whilst branded, franchised dealerships have systems to track parts around the world, independent garages are less likely to have such sophisticated systems. The PocketAuto app gives garages a system to track their parts and inventory internally, for efficiency, and also to reference repairs quickly. The business model is a monthly subscription based usage, with a client base of 3-6,000 independent garages. The Big Data could also be aggregated, analysed and then sold on as statistical reports to manufacturers.
Everett commented, “Winning hasn’t really sunk in yet. I think our immediate aim is to finish our degrees this summer and take it from there. Is a bonus for us, it’s like a final boost!"
Runner up Turvec Solutions, £500
Rupert Harvey-Scholes (Alumnus in International Business Management) and George Hosegood (Alumnus in Law).
Find out more about the Business Plan Competition and entrepreneurship at Oxford Brookes on the website.
1.Finalists and judges celebratingat the Business Plan Competition Awards 2017
2. LiveX team mates, Sergiu Orzac, Ainhoa Begiristain Arrondo and Rithvik Dhananjay Reddy with Pro Vice-Chancellor for Student Experience, Professor Julie McLeod.
3. William Carlsson, Fred Whittaker and Everett Diamond with Pro Vice-Chancellor forStudent Experience, Professor Julie McLeod