Student entrepreneurs reach semi-finals of Santander Universities Entrepreneurship Awards

Thursday, 24 May 2018

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Two entrepreneurs from Oxford Brookes University have reached the semi-finals of the Santander Universities Entrepreneurship Awards 2018.

Business and Management student Kate Nightingale secured her place in the next stage of the competition with her app entitled BackApper, which is designed to connect solo travellers with similar interests and travel ambitions.

Kate is joined by recent Business and Marketing Management graduate Anneka Wallington with her jewellery business Recognised. Recognised sells on-trend jewellery which raises awareness of different charitable causes.

Oxford Brookes is the only university from an area group of ten that has semi-finalists in both categories of the awards – for technology and non-technology based enterprises.

The Brookes Enterprise Support team has provided such great support, which has enabled me to refine and grow my business in a variety of different ways – from one-to-one support, masterclasses and workshops to the initial seed funding to launch the business.

Anneka Wallington, Business and Marketing Management graduate

On hearing she was through to the next round of the competition Anneka said: “It’s such an honour to be representing Oxford Brookes at the semi-finals. The whole experience up until now has been amazing and to have got through to the semi-finals is a great achievement and really exciting.

“The Brookes Enterprise Support team has provided such great support, which has enabled me to refine and grow my business in a variety of different ways – from one-to-one support, masterclasses and workshops to the initial seed funding to launch the business. I couldn’t speak more highly of the team and the support the entrepreneur programme has provided."

Kate added: “I am delighted to get through to the semi-finals. The support from Brookes Enterprise has been fantastic. Their programme has allowed me to gain confidence in pitching the business, as well as other crucial skills, like networking. I’m really excited to take advantage of the opportunities that the next stage of the competition has for my business.”

Both semi-finalists will pitch their ideas to a panel of judges at the Santander Universities Entrepreneurship Awards regional semi-final at the University of Leicester on Wednesday 27 June. Here, 20 of the best businesses from universities across the region will battle for a place on a Santander summer accelerator week and a space at the national final in October. Prizes include a share of £90,000 seed funding alongside mentoring and support.

Oxford Brookes Enterprise Support Manager Lydiah Igweh said: “The Santander Universities Entrepreneurship Awards is one of the UK’s largest student and graduate business pitching competitions. We have a long-standing history of successes in this competition and one again the quality of the Brookes applications is superb.

“We are delighted to have both our teams in the semi-finals and will continue to support and mentor our entrepreneurs every step of the way."

The Brookes Enterprise Support programme provides funding and mentoring opportunities for business start-ups, social enterprises and entrepreneurial ideas. The programme is open to all students, staff and recent graduates.

More information about the Brookes Enterprise Support programme can be found at www.brookes.ac.uk/enterprise-support/

Image: Business and Management student Kate Nightingale pitches for Oxford Brookes funding for her business BackApper and a chance to enter the Santander Universities Entrepreneurship Awards 2018.