Last week saw the much-anticipated climax of this year’s Enterprise! Programme, as we invited students, staff and distinguished alumni to recognise, reward and share in KU’s entrepreneurial achievements. We were determined to go out with a bang, so we arranged for an exciting student trade fair to take place prior to the ceremony, and we invited KU grad, Rishi Chowdhury, to bring along his latest project, the IncuBus.
Professor Julius Weinberg, Vice Chancellor of KU, kicked off the ceremony with an introduction to the ‘embedded’ nature of Kingston’s entrepreneurial talent, which gave way to an inspiring talk from Alexey Komissarov, successful KU alum. Having graduated from KU in 1994, Alexey offered a word of wisdom from his years of experience in business, arguing that running a business is like running a marathon, ‘it’s hard, and training for it is even harder, but it’s the sense of solidarity that gets you through. Above all, people are motivated by other people.’ Alexey’s advice certainly rang true as David Knull presented the Graduate Young Enterprise Awards to four teams of students that participated in the trade fair; Brace Yourself (Best Sales Pitch), Touch (Best Overall), and two of our Bright Ideas winners, BeeBra (Best Product) and Fli (Best Display Stand). Congrats to all of you for demonstrating great collaboration in business!
Following the Graduate Young Enterprise Awards, Charles Irving, founder of Pond Ventures, a global investment company, took to the stage with some worthwhile tips on how to gain investment for small businesses (a topic that most of our students were eager to hear) urging: ‘the big idea is secondary, the business plan is secondary, what’s important is the person behind the idea, because investors look for exceptional people.’ As expected, Charles was thrilled to present our Student and Graduate Awards to some of our most forward thinking and engaged students. Winners are as follows:
Student Enterprise Champion 2015 – Dennis Aguma and the Kingston Entrepreneurship Society
Dennis Aguma and the KES Team were awarded Student Enterprise Champion for their continuous efforts to support the Enterprise! Programme whilst expanding in their own activities with students. Dennis commented: ‘We’ve loved being so involved in Kingston University’s entrepreneurship efforts, especially with the constant support of the Enterprise! team who’ve held our hands throughout the process.’ Well done!
Shortlisted – Aldus von du Burg & Michael Kerin
We’d also like to offer special congratulations to our shortlisted students, Aldus, leader of the KU e-Racing Project, and Mike, who was the first FASS student to win an award at Bright Ideas and the only FASS student to be nominated at Celebrate Enterprise!
Most Entrepreneurial Student 2015 – Laura Jones
Following her team’s success at this year’s Bright Ideas Competition, Laura was humbled to have been crowned Most Entrepreneurial Student, sharing: ‘This award gives me confidence that I’m doing the right thing, and along with all the other support I’ve received from the Enterprise! team, I hope it’ll help me on my way to achieving my future plans of launching my own lingerie brand.’
Shortlisted – Riccardo Pezzuolo & Trevor Kerth
Here’s a special mention to Riccardo and Trevor, both of whom were shortlisted for the award and gave Laura some impressive competition – it was a close call!
Social Enterprise Award 2015 – Ryan Duffy
We were pleased to award Ryan Duffy our Social Enterprise Award for his continued and ambitious efforts to blend ideas across faculties through the Ion Horse Project. Ryan expressed: ‘It’s been really rewarding not only to pursue my own ideas, but to help other to achieve theirs.’ Congrats, Ryan, and keep up the great work!
Shortlisted – Samora Reid
We’d also like to congratulate Samora for achieving a place on the shortlist, mainly due to his involvement in MediRevu, and app that aims to help patients take a more active role in their health maintenance by scheduling and tracking their health plan and sharing information with family, friends, & health practitioners.
Entrepreneur of the Year 2015 – Rishi Chowdhury
We were thrilled to invite Rishi Chowdhury, founder of the IncuBus, to join us at Celebrate Enterprise where he was crowned Entrepreneur of the Year. Rishi explained: ‘It’s been great to be invited back to where it all began for me at Kingston University, and I’m so pleased to have been given this award.’
Shortlisted – Hend Krichen & Sarah Hellen
We’d like to give special mention to Hend and Sarah, two successful alumni who are currently pursuing their entrepreneurial ideas within art and design.