Winners of Inspire Launch Grow 2017 | LAUNCH.ed

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Group photo of 2017 Inspire Launch Grow finalists

The Inspire Launch Grow event showcases the exceptional entrepreneurial talent from students and academic staff at the University of Edinburgh.

This prestigious event took place on Monday 5th June in the Informatics Forum at The University of Edinburgh and marked an important milestone at the University and a special thank you presentation was given to the Principal, Professor Sir Timothy O’Shea, who is due to step down from his role as Principal of the University, and who has been a great supporter of enterprise during his 15-year tenure. The Principal, Professor Sir Timothy O’Shea spoke at the event and said  “I’m really proud that LAUNCH.ed happened on my watch”. To reflect his interest in robotics and as a thank you for his support the Principal was presented with his very own Marty the Robot from Robotical a previous ILG Innovation Cup winner. (Winners named below).

In honour of the Principal’s support of enterprise a ‘Through the Years’ exhibition was held to throw the spotlight on 15 of the University’s most interesting spin outs and start-ups from the last 15 years. Those participating in the event included: Fanduel, an Edinburgh unicorn; Pufferfish a unique technology company with customers such as Coldplay; pureLiFi which is seeking to replace the current Wi-Fi system and Krotos an innovative audio tool which has been featured in the live-action remake of the Jungle Book and the Avengers: Age of Ulton.

Grant Wheeler, Head of Enterprise Development at ERI commented on the success of the night ‘The entrepreneurial talent here at The University of Edinburgh is amongst the best in the UK and this is reflected in the quality of this year’s entries to the ILG awards.  The presence of so many successful companies that started here at the University, during the Principals term of office, highlights the first class support that we provide to the student and staff network.

This year, £20,000 worth of prize money has been made available across four key categories – The Innovation Cup, Emerging Innovation Award, the Social and Environment Award and The Enterprise Award. In addition to the main prizes, all finalists will receive a set of professional photos, a pop-up banner and a professional video.

Congratulations to this year’s 2017 winners!

Emerging Innovation Award

The Emerging Innovation Award is for research or technology based business ideas with future potential. The 2017 winner was Lissa Herron with Eggcellent Proteins who will receive £1,500.

First Place: Lissa Herron – Eggcellent Proteins

Use transgenic chickens that produce valuable proteins useful for research and therapeutic use, with applications in cancer, chronic disease, and cell therapy.

Lissa Herron winner of the Emerging Innovation Award


Runner-up: Murray Collins – Sigma Tree

Provides automated mapping of deforestation and forest change around the world by using satellite data. Sigma Tree will receive £500.

Ed Mitchard and Murray Collins - Sigma Tree. Runners-up of the Emerging Innovation Award

Ed Mitchard and Murray Collins

Innovation Cup

One of the biggest awards of ILG is the Innovation Cup. An annual business competition for all academic staff, students and alumni of The University of Edinburgh, with research or technology-based business ideas that are particularly innovative. The winner receives £5000 cash towards their business and the runner up will receive £1000 towards developing their business.

Winner – Dr Andy Herbert, Richard Boyd, Dr Sunay Chankeshwara and Dr Elisavet Makou – Invisius

The next generation of coating with the potential to protect invasive medical devices, or organs for transplantation from damage by the immune system. Using Invisius on invasive medical devices will improve device performance and reduce additional healthcare costs.

Dr Elisavet Makou, Dr Andy Herbert, Dr Sunay Chankeshwara and Enterprise Development business adviser Tom Ogilvie


Runner-up – Douglas Martin – MiAlgae

A new age microalgal production company that aims to revolutionize the £340 billion global livestock industry by producing products as supplements for fishmeal.

Douglas Martin runner-up of the Innovation Cup


Enterprise Award

The Enterprise Award is a business competition for all academic staff, students and alumni (up to two years after graduation) of The University of Edinburgh, who have ideas or ventures with outstanding commercial potential. The winner will receive a £5000 prize and the runner-up will receive £1000.

This year the judges could not decide between two finalists and have announced a joint first place! Each will receive £3000.

Joint first place: Jack Ryder and Sam Howarth  – Bump

Joint first place winners Sam Howarth and Jack Ryder with their innovative business – Bump. An eBay in reverse for sneakerheads and streetwear enthusiasts. List what you want to buy. Sellers can browse, find a buyer and quickly make a sale with zero fees.

Jack Ryder and Sam Howarth joint winners of the Enterprise Award


Joint first place: Cavid Nadirov – GetGuided

An online platform connecting travellers and travel businesses providing unique off-beat experiences by local guides.

Cavid Nadirov joint winner of the Enterprise Award

Social and Environment Award

A new category was created for 2017 after a record-breaking number of social enterprises entered this year’s Inspire Launch Grow. This category recognises those who have potential to impact and benefit local communities, environment, specific groups or society. The winner will receive £5,000 and the runner-up will receive £1,000.

Winner – James Turing – The Turing Trust – SolarBerry

The SolarBerry is a self-financing, community-owned offline and off-grid computer lab powered by solar energy with energy-efficient Rapsberry Pi computers. Their mission is to improve access to educational resources in off-grid Malawian communities like those found around Mzuzu, Northern Malawi.

James Turing winner of the Social and Environment Award

Runner-up – Alexandros Angelopoulos and Samuel Kellerhals – Elpis

Solar-powered charging station capable of powering 3,600 phones per month, while also enabling end-users to access educational digital services for free without a connection to the internet required. Already installed across eight refugee camps in Greece.

Christopher Molyneux

Christopher Molyneux a member of the Elpis



The University of Edinburgh

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