Economics student wins two Santander competitions

ryan-englandRyan England, a final-year economics student, impressed the judges with his convincing business idea, breath.loud, during the University’s ‘Big Ideas’ presentations on 21 March sponsored by Santander Bank.

Not only did Ryan win a fully-funded trip to the USA to represent Kent in the prestigious ‘Global Student Business Concept Challenge’, but also a fully-funded office in the Kent Enterprise Hub for one year upon graduation, support from a Santander business mentor and £500 to help with start-up costs.

Seven teams out of a total 46 applications from across the University were shortlisted and presented their business ideas to a panel of four judges. These included Gareth Anderson, Relationship Director at Santander Bank; Gill Smaggasgale, Partner at patent attorneys WP Thompson; Dr Gary Robinson, Senior Commercialisation Manager at the University; and Carole Barron, Director of Innovation and Enterprise at Kent.

Despite the tough competition, the judges were unanimous in their decision. Ryan’s business idea to customise and improve the appearance of asthma inhalers, with a view to aiding the acceptance of asthma among children, together with a well thought through business case, financial projections, presentation and competence during the question and answer session left the judges with no room for doubt.

Ryan said: ‘I can’t believe I’ve won. I am so excited about this fantastic opportunity and especially representing the University in Virginia in August. It’ll be a real privilege to go.’

The University has participated in the Global Challenge for the past three years and achieved the runners-up prize twice. If Ryan wins the ‘Global Student Business Concept Challenge’, he will receive a cash prize of $25,000. Ryan’s business idea will also be entered by the University in the Santander Entrepreneurship Awards later this year.

To find out more about business competitions and student enterprise activities, email