Enterprising students earned a major boost for their business ideas at the University’s annual Big Pitch Competition, sponsored by Santander Universities.
The aim of The Big Pitch, held virtually over Zoom, is to raise awareness of entrepreneurship and to help students gain valuable skills and support to get their ideas off the ground.
Twenty-three entrepreneurial students pitched 19 different ideas to the judges, who awarded more than £22,000 to 10 start-ups. Seven businesses were awarded a space on an accelerator programme to develop their ideas and six innovators will also receive additional support from the University’s Agor Ip project.
The students each gave a three-minute pitch to the four judges: Ann Swift, Welsh Government Youth Entrepreneurship Manager; Nicholas Davies, Relationship Manager, Santander Universities; and entrepreneurs and Swansea graduates Ben Reynolds, Founder Urban Foundry and Caroline Challoner, Director of Cazbah Ltd.
Businesses ranged from a healthy takeaway based in Swansea @MacroMunch, to clothing from @toddsattire, @fightwearstoreuk @kimfootball and @hornyvegan_clothing @RHMNUK. Others included skincare advisor @momo_skinn and wellness services for minority groups through the @alawproject alongside handyman services, a recruitment platform for developers, virtual tour company @letzee and drone technology.
Workshops organised by Swansea University’s Enterprise Team, based in Research, Engagement and Innovation Services (REIS), gave students advice beforehand on developing their ideas and pitching them effectively.
Joshua Blackhurst, School of Management third-year student and founder of Letzee, said:
“I thoroughly enjoyed The Big Pitch 2021. Pitching on Zoom was a unique experience and simulated a pressurised interview environment. The enterprise team were great at making everyone feel comfortable with their pitches and the networking afterwards. It was great to see and chat too so many other young entrepreneurs and their unique ideas. I thought that the range of awards and development options dependent on the stage that each student is at is very well thought out.”
Moda Al-Burayhe, Swansea University Medical School student, said:
“I found the pitching experience extremely rewarding, It gave me more confidence in my idea and I really appreciated the feedback from the judges. I’m very happy with the outcome and cannot wait to start on the accelerator programme in July to learn and improve my business.”
Senior Enterprise Officer Kelly Jordan said she was delighted to see the competition going from strength to strength:
“For the fourth year, we’ve been blown away by the quality of the of ideas and pitches, the students have done Swansea University proud. We had entries from all three faculties of the University from all academic years.”
Caroline Challoner, one of the judges, and director of Cazbah Marketing, said:
“It was thoroughly absorbing and motivating to be a judge for the Big Pitch at Swansea University. I was blown away by the standard of ideas and research, and by the confidence of the entrants.
The values and passion on display was fantastic and I wish every one of them the best of luck as they move their ideas forward.”
Fellow judge Ben Reynolds, founder of Urban Foundry, said:
“I was really impressed by the standard of presentations and the variety of great ideas on show. I was particularly pleased to see how many of them were so strongly purpose driven, with values at their core – thinking about how they can help to improve people’s lives. That so many were focused on a wellbeing economy was also lovely to see. I look forward to seeing how they progress.”
Swansea University’s Enterprise Team delivers the University’s "Student Entrepreneurship: Our Strategic Approach 2018-2023".