A process that turns disposable coffee cups into fertiliser, an app for buying and selling from charity shops and an online hub for ‘clean beauty’ brands were among winners in Edinburgh Innovations’ annual enterprise awards.
Products and services pioneered by staff, students and recent graduates were celebrated at the 2018 Inspire Launch Grow awards, hosted by Edinburgh Innovations at the Playfair Library in Old College.
Twenty-two finalists presented their businesses to a panel of judges earlier in the month. Winners in five categories were announced at the awards event on Wednesday, 13 June, with prizes of up to £5,000 presented.
Finalists ranged from businesses at the early stages of developing their product to more established companies with growing customer bases.
“I congratulate all the finalists and winners, and we look forward to continuing to support them on their journeys as entrepreneurs.”
– Dr George Baxter, CEO, Edinburgh Innovations.
Winner of the Emerging Innovation Award for staff was University spin-out company Carbogenics, founded by Dr Jan Mumme of the School of Geosciences.
Dr Mumme said: “Winning was unexpected, especially against such strong competitors. We have felt so supported by the University and our business advisers.”
Carbogenics has developed a novel process to turn disposable coffee cups and other non-recyclable paper-based waste into a material called CreChar. It can be used as a soil enhancer and in other applications including boosting the productivity of biogas generators and in waste water treatment. The process of making CreChar is carbon-negative, capturing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
Taking the Emerging Innovation Award for students was Crover, founded by Lorenzo Conti, a PhD student in the School of Engineering. He has developed a remote probing device, the first that is able to move within silos of stored grain.
Crover gives real time measurements of factors such as moisture and temperature, enabling early detection of potential spoilage and reducing waste and financial losses.
Recent MBA graduate Raquel Wing’s company The Clean Hub won the Enterprise Award. It is the world’s first and only resource hub and support network for founders of clean beauty companies – those that use no known toxins. It already has around 180 brands signed up.
The Social and Environmental Award was won by One Cherry, which was founded by Anton Puzorjov, a PhD student in the School of Biological Sciences.
One Cherry is an online marketplace for second-hand retailers, such as charity shops. Shops can upload images of their stock in less than 20 seconds per item, expanding their reach to customers, and customers can shop for second-hand items from anywhere and on any device.
The Innovation Cup went to uFraction8, founded by engineering alumnus Dr Brian Miller. He and his team have developed a pioneering hydrodynamic technique for cell separation and de-watering. His innovation uses less energy and produces higher yields than conventional methods.
In addition to the five competition winners, a special Entrepreneurial Achiever Award was presented to Enactus Edinburgh, a group of 83 students who recently won a national competition for social entrepreneurs and will represent the UK at the Enactus World Cup in California in October.
Among the judges were senior figures from Scotland’s angel investor scene. Also present were successful entrepreneurs who have previously been supported by Edinburgh Innovations and its service for student entrepreneurs, LAUNCH.ed.
Among them were Sam Howarth and Jack Ryder, founders of Bump, the online marketplace for streetwear, which recently attracted substantial investment after completing the prestigious Y Combinator accelerator programme in California. Bump was a joint winner of the Inspire Launch Grow Enterprise Award in 2017.
Speakers included David Hunter, creator of Shotscope, the golf performance tracking system. Mr Hunter has received support from Edinburgh Innovations and LAUNCH.ed, having studied at Moray House School of Education in 2012-13.