Entrepreneurs share £100,000 prize money at Venture Further Awards

The Venture Further Awards were held in the Whitworth Hall on Wednesday 10 May, celebrating the entrepreneurial talent and creativity from students and recent graduates across The University of Manchester. Streamed live, the winners of the 2023 Venture Further Awards start-up competition were announced to the world.        

Hosted by Deputy President and Deputy Vice-Chancellor of The University of Manchester, Luke Georghiou, this uplifting evening saw ten teams of entrepreneurs receive a share of an increased cash prize fund of £100,000 to help take their start-ups to the next level. Luke commented: “On the 20th anniversary of the Venture Further Awards competition, it goes from strength to strength as new generations of entrepreneurs bring forward their ideas and insights to build innovative businesses which push the boundaries across such a wide range of economic and social opportunities. The University of Manchester is very proud of them!”        

Joined by Scott Martin, Co-founder and CEO of Re:course AI, who spoke of his journey since winning the competition in 2018 and recently securing £3.5M investment from Northern Gritstone, the evening was a celebration of innovation and entrepreneurship at The University of Manchester. 

Lynn Sheppard, Director of the Masood Entrepreneurship Centre commented: “This year’s Venture Further Awards were again an amazing demonstration of the entrepreneurial spirit of students and graduates from across the University.”  

1. 2023 finalists


Twenty teams reached the final round, across five categories – Environmental, Healthcare, Services, Social and Technology. Four teams competed for the top cash prize of £15,000 with second place winners receiving £5,000.




This year’s winners of £15,000 are:

Environmental Category: Naxca Ltd. 

Naxca is on a mission to optimise and electrify space heating systems. Using technology and data-driven strategies to unlock the potential for lower running costs and reduced carbon emissions. 

Marco Antonio Rodriguez Frias, Ph.D. Electrical and Electronic Engineering, School of Engineering, Alumni Class of 2020

Healthcare Category: NanoGraft Ltd.

A health tech start-up focussed on helping restore sensation to lower limb amputees. NanoGraft are developing a wearable device that provides sensory stimulus to the user allowing them to feel the ground when they walk. 

Gergana Ivanova, MEng Material Science and Engineering, School of Natural Sciences   
Omar Haroun, MEng Material Science and Engineering, School of Natural Sciences

Services Category: Hive: Student and Industry STEM Solutions Ltd.

Through HiveSpace’s industry sponsored space projects, space businesses across the UK can connect with the next generation of talent and students can explore space-related design projects generating the high-demand skills they need to kickstart their space career. 

Thomas Chiu, MEng Aerospace Engineering with Industrial Experience, School of Engineering

Social Category: Active Ageing Initiative

AGI supports older adults across Ghana to age with dignity and respect. They train partner institutions to implement the AGI framework, advocate and prioritise care for older adults and conduct research to develop the framework to drive real change. 

Brenda Agyeiwaa Poku, Ph.D. Nursing, School of Health Sciences, Alumni Class of 2019  
Kwame Asamoah Kwarteng, MSc International Development: Globalisation Trade and Industry, School of Environment Education and Development, Alumni Class of 2019

Technology Category: Metofico Ltd.

Metofico supplies custom solutions for life scientists to manage and process the deluge of data produced by modern life science experiments. The mission is to provide the best solutions to enable researchers to produce the best scientific outputs. 

Mehdi Boutagouga Boudjadja, Ph.D. Neuroscience, School of Biological Sciences, Alumni Class of 2022

Organiser of the Venture Further Awards Competition, Ellie Buckley commented: “Over the past 20 years, Venture Further has provided student and graduate founders with the vital support and funding required to develop their businesses. 75% of VFA businesses are still active today and collectively have secured over £21M in investment. This is a real testament to the quality of the ventures being developed through this competition. This year’s finalists have been equally impeccable, and we look forward to supporting all the founders in furthering their start-ups and making them a success.” 

If you missed the live stream of the awards evening, you can watch a recording: 


Venture Further Awards 2023

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