Entrepreneurs share £75,000 prize money at Venture Further Awards

The winners of the 2021 Venture Further business start-up competition have been announced during this year's exceptional online awards ceremony. Hosted by serial-entrepreneur and philanthropist Vikas Shah M.B.E., fifteen teams of entrepreneurs have been awarded a share of a £75,000 cash prize fund to help take their start-ups to the next level.

Joined by Deputy President and Deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor Luke Georghiou and previous Venture Further winner Dr. Beenish Siddique, Founder and CEO of AEH Innovative Hydrogel Ltd, the evening was a celebration of innovation and entrepreneurship at The University of Manchester.

The Masood Entrepreneurship Centre's annual Venture Further competition invites students and recent graduates from across The University of Manchester to submit their business proposals to an expert judging panel of enterprise and business professionals. The competition offers an exclusive opportunity to win a significant cash injection to help realise their business goals.

From a healthy number of entries, twenty-five teams reached the final round. In each of the five categories –Environmental, Healthcare, Services, Social and Technology – five teams competed for the top cash prize of £10,000. Second place winners were awarded £3,500 and third place £1,500.

This year’s winners are:

Environmental Category

IGOLO: Sophia Major and Florence Quinn

An online hub promoting sustainability in the home construction industry by making the know-how, materials and expertise more accessible to homeowners.

Healthcare Category

Simplex Molecular: Maribel Montufar Martinez and Karen M. Garcia Rodriguez

A biotech start-up developing a new diagnostic system to detect antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Its innovative system will allow users to perform the test without laboratory equipment or complex training.

Services Category

What’s Fresh: Ross Neilson

A platform enabling customers to order high quality fresh local produce, by modernising the ‘shop local’ experience and giving local farmers a competitive advantage.

Social Category

Arkisites: Elijah Ajuwon

Improving racial diversity and inclusion in the technical sector, acting in a strategic consulting role to support diversity and inclusion agendas.

Technology Category

Bright Biotech Limited: Mohammad El Hajj and Tariq Ali

Bright Biotech Limited are developing high quality and affordable recombinant proteins in plants for research and the therapeutic market.

Director of the Masood Entrepreneurship Centre, Lynn Sheppard said: “We are now in the sixteenth year of the competition, and we received entries from a number of Schools from every Faculty in the University, demonstrating that the appetite for entrepreneurship is increasing here at The University of Manchester. “

"The standard and quality of business proposals submitted were impeccable, with candidates spotting prevalent problems and conducting thorough market research to submit both credible and viable business plans".

The competition has been a phenomenal success culminating in a fantastic online awards event which aired not only regionally and nationally but also internationally with audience members watching in Singapore, Zambia, Canada and Japan. We look forward to support all the winners in furthering their start-ups and making them a success.
Lynn Sheppard, Director of the Masood Entrepreneurship Centre

Venture Further Awards 2021

Venture Further 2021 was supported by:

IBM, Slalom, and Vita Student.

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