Oxford Brookes Business School success at Spark Awards

Oxford Brookes Business School
Oxford Brookes Business School

An ambitious group of Oxford Brookes Business School entrepreneurs have been selected as winners of the annual Spark Awards that will enable them to take their business ventures to the next level.

Matteo Nania was selected along with fellow Business School students, Matthew Minnet, Etse Iluobe, Melisa Zulle, and Steve Gordon.

Matteo, a fourth year undergraduate International Tourism and Hospitality Management student, was selected by a panel of judges at the Oxford Brookes Enterprise Centre which is home to the Brookes Enterprise Support Team which equips students with the skills to start their own business.

Matteo’s business ‘MaWeb+’ is an online marketing agency based in Italy that specialises in bringing more customers to driving schools by boosting their online presence. He spotted a gap in the market after obtaining his own driving licence.

Matteo said: “I obtained my own driving licence in the exact same way that my father did 20 years previously! It was after that I realised there had been no innovation in the driving school market, which led to MaWeb+ being founded in 2021.

“Being selected as one of the winners of the Spark Award programme has now given me the funds to further enhance MaWeb+ in the UK, so I am very excited to continue on my business journey thanks to this valuable programme offered by Oxford Brookes.”

Final year BA Business, Enterprise and Entrepreneurship student and fellow winner, Matthew Minett added:

"To be chosen gave me a great sense of purpose and confidence that my ideas did not just seem good to me in my personal bubble, but made real tangible sense to my peers and to investors. I have a much greater level of assurance that I will take forward into the early formation stages of my business.

The business I proposed at the SPARK event was Minett Powertrains, which would act as part of a larger entity I have created with some peers called Minett Motorsport. This business would exist as our foray into the electric powertrains section of the amateur motorsport industry. Minett Powertrains will work closely with clients to develop bespoke electric powertrain packages to suit their particular vehicle and needs on the race circuit. 

MSc Digital Marketing student, Etse Iluobe has created a gymwear brand for men and women called Gainergang, with a purpose to be the reason why people discover fitness and make it their lifestyle. 

Etse said: "Being selected for the Spark Award felt incredibly gratifying and humbling, recognising the tireless efforts and collective achievements of our team."

The Spark programme ran for a six-week period from October 10 until November 14 this year, and students from any discipline could enter. The participants attended weekly in-person workshops at the University’s Enterprise Centre, learning  from industry experts and Oxford Brookes alumni.  At the end of the course, Matteo successfully pitched his business idea alongside seven other entries, winning £500 in funding. 

Matteo continued: “The Spark programme provided me with fantastic support and guidance, and my public speaking and self-confidence has greatly improved. I’d like to particularly thank my module leader Greg Kapuscinski for fantastic help and advice, and who also gave me the idea to join the programme.

“I would highly recommend the Spark programme to my fellow Oxford Brookes students who have the same business dreams and ambitions that I do. I cannot wait for the next phase of my journey with MaWeb+ thanks to this fantastic opportunity from the University.”

Pro-Vice Chancellor and Dean of Oxford Brookes Business School, Professor Tim Vorley said: “We are immensely proud of Matteo and his fellow Business School students winning a 2023 Spark Award. At Oxford Brookes Business School we inspire minds with insight and ambition and encourage our learners to become ambitious and responsible leaders of the future. I have no doubt that our selected students will make a mark in the world of business beyond their time at Oxford Brookes.”