How to win at Business Competitions

Last night, as part of our Bright Ideas Competition awards for students and recent graduates, we held our first panel discussion – ‘How to Win at Business Competitions’.

More than 50 entrepreneurially minded students and graduates from the University joined us to hear views and advice from LAUNCH.ed clients and business adviser Liza Sutherland.

The panel featured:

  • Alison Wood, founder of social enterprise Lilypads, which provides affordable and sustainable sanitary products to girls and women in Kenya, as well as education and support to tackle the taboo surrounding menstrual health education.
  • Denny Schenk, founder of Retromixer, whose product brings together the hot and cold taps of wash basins.
  • Lorenzo Conti, last year’s winner of the Business Ideas Competition and founder of Crover, aiming to reduce grain waste by monitoring conditions inside grain stores.

LAUNCH.ed intern and current student Jack McMillan led the panel discussion and, with Lorenzo, presented the winners of this year’s Business Ideas Competition.

For the first time, Sainsbury Management Fellows, an MBA scholarship scheme for engineers, provided sponsorship for a separate category of the competition for students and recent graduates from the School of Engineering.

From left: Alison Wood, Liza Sutherland, Denny Schenk, Lorenzo Conti and Jack McMillan



First place winners recieve £500, second place £300 and third place £200.

Business Ideas Competition

  • First place: Wang Yau LI with Speakeasy. Yau Li, who is studying for an MSc in Speech and Language Processing, aims to develop a speech analysis and feedback app to allow people undertaking speech therapy to improve their independent practice between therapy sessions.
  • Second place: Karol Stanski for his system to identify and count plants and animals using drone imagery. Fifth-year Informatics undergraduate Karol has developed a prototype while working on a dissertation project with the School of Geosciences.
  • Third place: Alexander Adam Laurence with his idea of using AI in developing countries to assess malnutrition in children.

Business Ideas Competition – engineering

  • First place:  George Dzavaryan, Mortiz Muller, Iman Mouloudi and Will Sautra with Augment Bionics, which designs and manufactures affordable bionic arms for use by amputees and people born without upper limbs. The team wants to drastically reduce the cost of functional prosthetics and are targeting an NHS partnership.
  • Second place: Artur Chee and Dilyana Karavasileva with their automated strawberry-harvesting arm. Their design aims to be more efficient and less bulky than existing designs, achieved with more degrees of freedom and an internal conveyor belt system.
  • Third place: Dileep Dasari with Dassun, a simple vortex-generating system which can potentially decrease fuel consumption of turbofan engines by 10%.

From left: Dileep Dasari, Artur Chee, Karol Stanski and Will Saputra.

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uFraction8 awarded SMART grant

Fantastic news for our clients at uFraction8! The sustainable cell separation technology has been awarded a £100,000 grant from SMART Scotland!

They will use this funding to work on Read More

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Carbogenics takes top prize in Converge Challenge

Carbogenics, a spinout company that turns disposable coffee cups into fertiliser, has taken the coveted top prize in Converge Challenge 2018, and fellow Edinburgh Innovations clients won the awards’ Social Enterprise and Kickstart prizes.

The annual awards for entrepreneurs from Scottish universities and research institutes were presented at a ceremony in Edinburgh attended by more than 200 Scottish business and entrepreneurial leaders. More than £160,000 was awarded to 10 winners. Read More

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May and Sturgeon visit University to sign City Region Deal

Prime Minister Theresa May and Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon have visited the University to formally agree the Edinburgh and South East Scotland City Region Deal.

Mrs May and Ms Sturgeon signed the deal at the University’s Bayes Centre, at an event that highlighted data science expertise at the University.

Supporting development

The £1.3 billion investment is designed to Read More

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Santander Universities Entrepreneurship Awards

Two LAUNCH.ed clients made it through to the North Semi-Finals of the Santander Universities Entrepreneurship Awards.

This annual pitching competition is aimed at giving a financial boost to student and graduate business ventures in their early stages from UK partner universities. Participants can win a range of prizes including seed funding, mentoring and startup support. Since the competition’s Read More

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Startups triumph at Scottish EDGE

Edinburgh Innovations clients have scooped the biggest awards at round 12 of Scottish EDGE, the UK’s largest entrepreneurship funding competition.

Dr Kate Cameron, founder and CEO of Cytochroma, won the Higgs EDGE prize for businesses focused on science, technology and engineering, and was awarded £150,000, the maximum possible for the Higgs prize.

Toxicology test

Cytochroma offers a low-cost, high-speed drug toxicology testing service using stem-cell-derived liver cells.

Dr Cameron is currently a Royal Society of Edinburgh Enterprise Fellow, hosted by Edinburgh Innovations and funded by Read More

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Success for student and staff innovators

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.

Five categories

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 Read More

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MiAlgae set to shake up feed sector after £500,000 investment

MiAlgae, a student-launched startup that aims to revolutionise the animal and fish feed industries with microalgae made from the co-products of whisky, has received £500,000 from investors.

The company, founded by Douglas Martin while a masters student at the University of Edinburgh in 2015-16, grows algae rich in omega-3 and other nutrients using co-products from the whisky distillation process.

The microalgae produced can be used as a raw material for agricultural food products, with the company initially targeting the aquaculture industry, whose future growth is predicted to Read More

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Launch of Startup Summer

The first group of inspirational entrepreneurs are ready to begin the Santander sponsored Startup Summer Entrepreneurship Programme.

This 12 week programme will help early stage potential startups increase their chance of launching. Upon successful completion, each applicant will be awarded Read More

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Student team enjoys social enterprise success

A team of Edinburgh students is to represent the UK at the world’s largest social entrepreneurship competition.

They will take part in the Enactus World Cup for student-run social enterprises to be held in San Jose, California, in October.

The event brings together an international network of students, academics and business leaders seeking to transform lives and create a better future through entrepreneurial action.

UK final

Some 83 Edinburgh students – involved in eight social enterprises – were crowned Enactus UK 2018 National Champion at an event with 31 other finalists in London.

Their success saw them qualify for the World final in California. There they will showcase their work alongside Read More

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