Businesses and social enterprise projects awarded £36k at entrepreneurial pitch event

Thursday, 29 March 2018

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The Oxford Brookes Enterprise Support Awards held an inspirational pitching event last week with funding allocated to 34 business start-ups, social enterprises and social innovation projects.

More than 60 students, recent graduates and staff pitched for over £36,000 in funding and mentoring opportunities from four panels of entrepreneurs and social entrepreneurs from across Oxfordshire. Ideas ranged from selling bright, waxed-cotton trousers and promoting African culture, to ideas around community-user based apps and innovative programmes to support elderly people and carers.

For many, the presentations were the result of months of researching their ideas, learning entrepreneurship skills and honing their pitches. Awards ranged from Try It awards of around £100 to £500 to trial an idea or carry out research, to Do It awards of between £1,000 and £3,000, to launch a more developed project that had previously been researched or trialed.

The quality of the ideas and the presentations was hugely impressive and it’s fantastic to think the future of business in this country – and around the world - is in the hands of these inspirational and forward-thinking entrepreneurs and innovators.

Louise Wheeler, Founder-Director at Research Oxford

Louise Wheeler, Founder - Director at Research Oxford, was on the judging panel. She said: “The quality of the ideas and the presentations was hugely impressive and it’s fantastic to think the future of business in this country – and around the world - is in the hands of these inspirational and forward-thinking entrepreneurs and innovators.

“It’s no wonder the programme is attracting new external mentors from across the local business community and it is clear that enterprise at Oxford Brookes is thriving. For the winners, this is just the start of an entrepreneurship journey that could potentially grow and last a lifetime."

Student Kevin Pareiso and business partner Anina Tietjens won a Try It award of £500 for their project Dolkreyland, which will produce and sell African patterned trousers and promote African culture by including information about the story behind the pattern alongside the product. Kevin said, “It’s been a long day, but really helpful! We learnt so much about how we could launch a business, and the judges gave us so much advice.”

Lydiah Igweh, Brookes Enterprise Support Manager, commented: “This was our most successful and inspirational Enterprise Support Awards to date – not just in terms of the sheer number of applications received, but in the amount of funding and support we can offer and in terms of the quality of the ideas and pitches.

“Those who take part tell us the programme is game-changing in terms of their skills, employability, resilience and their success after leaving University.

“A huge thanks goes to our sponsors, Santander Universities, and the guest judges for helping to develop the business brains who will boost the UK economy in the future.”

To get involved as a mentor or to find out more visit the Oxford Brookes Enterprise Support webpages