What idea did you pitch at the awards?
Our idea aims to eliminate the use of single-use food and beverage disposables, like plastic-lined coffee cups.
We use Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology, which automatically identifies and tracks chips attached to objects. By embedding these chips in a reusable container, the container can be tracked to an account, giving it a ‘value’ until it’s returned – a bit like a library book. When a staff member or student buys a coffee, they’ll have to ‘borrow’ the cup by scanning their ID card.
The technology also integrates with the library management systems that all universities already have, so it’s completely secure.
How did you find the pitch?
Surprisingly enjoyable and welcoming. I had plenty of support beforehand, so I knew what I had to do to prepare. The Dragons asked some good questions and their feedback was really useful – the free meal at the end was a great bonus!
What made you decide to take part in the Enterprise Support competition?
I’d seen it advertised and thought, if I don’t try it now, I’ll regret it. It was the best chance I’d get to try something for myself.
How has Enterprise Support improved your skills to take on this challenge?
It gave me a lot of confidence. It was brilliant to talk through an idea with someone who’s not a friend or family member, and have them tell you it’s good. I also got a lot of constructive feedback, which made me consider things I wouldn’t have thought of otherwise – it meant I could have answers to certain questions ready to go when I really needed them.
Has the competition given you some insight on how to succeed in the job market?
Absolutely. I learnt that it’s important to explain your concept in short and precise sentences, because every word counts in business. Plan and set yourself targets because no one else will do it for you. And I learnt that you should always communicate and present yourself in a professional way when you’re meeting new people, because you never know who will be able to help your business succeed.
Has taking part in the competition opened any doors for you?
I’ve made a lot of useful contacts, and realised how much funding, mentoring and support is out there for you if you just go looking for it.
What are your next steps?
I’ll be focusing on expanding the business and applying for more funding. £500 was the perfect amount to prove my idea and give me the confidence to keep going, but now I’m ready to take it to the next level.