Awards and showcases for graduate startup success
We asked the team at nest, the University’s enterprise service, to tell us their 2016 highlights. The service helps current students and graduates, up to five years, who are looking start their own business.
Here’s what they said:
We kicked off 2016 with a fantastic funding opportunity for student & graduate startups. In partnership with Santander Universities we were able to offer £20,000 worth of ‘try it’ and ‘do it’ funding to students and graduates to test or develop their startup ideas.
Rowan Child, Founder of HH Headwear received £2,000 of startup funding to launch his company, which offers an alternative headwear for chemotherapy patients. The aim of HH Headwear is to provide a new option to make this incredibly hard and challenging part of these people's lives a little easier, by being comfortable.
Rowan graduated from Therapeutic Radiography in 2016;
“Without the funding from nest and Santander, HH Headwear would simply still be an idea in my own head; instead I have been able to carry out market research, develop a prototype and am now speaking to investors with a plan to manufacture the first run in January 2017”.
In March we hosted our annual Enterprise Showcase which is our chance to recognise and celebrate our entrepreneurial students, graduates and staff.
20 of our ‘Startups to Watch’ exhibited their businesses, followed by our Startup Awards.
Our Startup of the Year was Kunle Adetayo, founder of Simply Fast Food, an on demand delivery platform for consumers to order their favourite food & a delivery partner for merchants.
Since launching, Simply Fast Food have secured over 10,000 customers in London alone. They were accepted into one of the top accelerators in Europe where they received seed investment, mentoring and business support. At the beginning of 2016 Simply Fast Food were recognised as one of the top Startups in London by London-Startup List.
Public nominations for the awards categories ‘Startup of the Year’, ‘Student Entrepreneurial Spirit’ and ‘Staff Entrepreneurial Spirit’ are now open. If you know anyone who you believe stands out and deserves to be recognised, please cast your nominations here.
In July, nine students from across the University were selected to attend the European Innovation Academy (EIA), a three week intensive startup programme in France. The students who attended had an amazing experience, gaining a wide range of skills and a global perspective to starting their own business.
In September ready for the start of term we launched our restyled Route to Startup programme.
The Route to Startup programme is a series of interactive workshops which take students and graduates through the stages of starting their own business. As part of the programme we introduced our expert speaker series ‘Entrepreneurs Lounge’.
We also saw the start of our new cohort of Self-Employment placement students, who rather than undertaking a traditional placement have taken the opportunity to develop their own business over the year.
Following on from a busy start to term, our Social Startup programme began. This is our specialist startup programme for students and graduates looking to establish a social enterprise. The programme consists of a series of workshops accompanied by a specialist toolkit we have created and guest speakers who share their experience of starting their own social enterprise, many of whom are University of Portsmouth graduates.
In November we celebrated Global Entrepreneurship Week.
The 10 year anniversary of our inter-university enterprise challenge ‘Dynamo’ took place. Over 50 students from 5 universities came together to solve a real life brief - this year the focus was on social enterprise.
We co-hosted the ‘One Big Networking Night’ with other startup support networks from across the University and the City and met lots of great individuals at various stages of their startup journey. The keynote speaker was entrepreneurial Alumni Rachel Lowe who talked about her highs and lows from starting her business whilst studying at the University to the success she has now.
For the first time Young Startup Talent held a Solent region competition to search for the top entrepreneurial talent in the Solent region. After months of hard work, we were down to the finals, with three out of the five finalists being students & graduates from the University of Portsmouth, Ming Wu, John Wheal and Calvin Macleod. Check out this video of the final:
To top off a great year in enterprise, alumni Nathan Cable, Co-founder of Party Hard Travel, was identified as one of 30 young rising travel stars by leading travel industry magazine, Travel Trade Gazette (TTG). Nathan set up his travel business with fellow University of Portsmouth graduate Barry Moore.
“We will be launching our very own Party Hard Travel booking platform in the coming months which will enable travel agencies across the country to book customers on Party Hard holiday packages. The last 12 months have been huge for us, with bookings up 450% compared to last year. We just launched our Summer 2017 packages, for which an advertisement featured on the new series of the hit TV series, Geordie Shore. Things are really starting to fall into place for us, we are aiming to send 10,000 guests on holiday this year and we can’t wait!”
We are looking forward to seeing what 2017 has in store for us!