Meet the Business Start Up Award Finalists!

Kent Business School’s Business Start Up Awards Final kicks off today at 2pm live on Zoom. The BSUJ is a co-curricular programme of interactive practical workshops open to students from any School or Faculty at the University of Kent, at any level of study from Stage 1 undergraduate to final year, postgraduate and PhD. The Journey, which is part of the University’s Study Plus programme, takes students through the process of starting a business – from finding an idea, testing it, establishing finances and start-up costs, to pitching to investors. Here, we speak to this year’s finalists, battling it out to win £1,000 investment in their business idea…

Mercy Adeniji (pictured above)

Business idea:  VeGate, a vegan food delivery service, an ethical and efficient way of getting all your vegan necessities in one place and delivered to your doorstep.

Why are you passionate about it? I have been vegan for over a year and found it very difficult to source all vegan products in one place. I will be creating a platform that will increase the availability of vegan products.  

What would you do if you won pitching finals? I would use the money to market my business and create enthusiasm around the launch. Although it isn’t enough money to create an app, a following of VeGates target market, is proof to investors that VeGate is something people want and for my business is as important.  

Future plans: In the future I hope to have an up and running app.

 

 Geraldine Nythai

Business idea:  My Care Buddy, a CRM that will empower carers and care providers to collect, store and analyse client health and well being data in order to enable data driven decision making in care. 

Why are you passionate about it? I am passionate about helping people and having  a meaningful impact in people’s lives and wellbeing.

What would you do if you won pitching finals? I would use this opportunity and platform to highlight the challenges care workers face.

Future steps: More research and development of My Care Buddy with our main objective being to hire developers to take the project from its minimum viable product stage to a private beta and testing stage. We have also approached a large a recruitment agency to offer voluntary IT support services for clients.

Shanice Edwards 

Business idea: SlayNSwim is a swimsuit company that aims to provide not only swimsuits but an experience and a lifestyle for all unique shapes and body sizes.  

Why are you passionate about it? Finding a swimsuit that was not only made for an unrealistic body type has been difficult. This is why I made it my goal to source swimwear that could cater to all body types while enhancing different curves and shapes. 

What would you do if you won pitching finals? I would be able to fund and start my business in the UK and push my brand to the potential I know it has, being a successful swimwear brand. 

Future steps: I hope to expand my swimwear line to cater to men and children. SlayNSwim has the potential to be a global company known for providing quality products while focusing on body positive stance.

Viktoria Bogos

Business Idea: TheFlipLight is a portable, wireless ring light. The innovative foldable compact piece is easy to carry around, but strong enough to light any object/individual when attached to a smartphone. FlipLight targets in a 5-meter radius (even outdoor), using both front and rear phone cameras, making it a unique lighting equipment to the market. 

Why are you passionate about it? As someone who works as a photographer I have personally struggled with the issue of bad lighting at certain locations. Talking with industry professionals and other social media influencers I have realised a lot of people have the same issue.

What would you do if you won the finals?  Winning the finals would mean my idea and product is actually something investors deem worthy to produce, and believe in its success. This feedback and the prize money would help me start my journey as an entrepreneur and help me make FlipLight a reality.  

Future steps: I am planning to consult investors, and submit my business plan to hopefully start my start-up journey. I am also hoping to get a sample prototype done by one of the potential suppliers I have contacted so I can get a realistic view of how FlipLight would look and perform. 

Jessica Lambert

Business Idea:  A fitness and wellbeing app which tracks milestones, sharing their own progress, workouts and nutrition whilst getting inspiration from others, and track/improve their own mental health through the positive community created on the app. 

Why are you passionate about it?  Growing up in a sporting/fitness environment and working in the leisure industry I have seen first-hand what I and other people believe is missing from the fitness industry and that is a platform and a consistent way for individuals to track their own goals and post workouts/nutrition ideas.

What would you do if you won pitching finals? I would invest the money into building the app and then trying to spread word about it amongst the fitness industry via building a team of social influencers and building a marketing scheme on social media to achieve these goals. 

Future Steps: In the future, I hope for my app to become one of the biggest mainstream fitness apps available and to be known as a app designed for anyone who wants to improve their physical and/or mental well-being whilst having the ability to connect with people from their own gyms/clubs or anyone with the same goals to better themselves.  

Naavyaa Ranjan 

Business idea: Rganica is a hair care brand with products that effectively responds to increasing demand of completely natural and vegan hair care products and scalp scrubs. It reduces issues such as hair fall and dandruff.  

Why are you passionate about it?  Last year, I experienced hair loss and no hair supplements seem to work. Then, my mother made a homemade ayurvedic paste (that she used to apply on her hair) for my hair and I could see a difference from first use. Since it solved a big problem for me, I became determined to make it reachable to a more people. 

What would you do if you won pitching finals?  I would take some training courses in organic hair care products. I will also provide free samples to more people I know, to try it and give their feedback.  

Future plans: I will partner with suppliers and distributors as well as form a team to begin production. I will also send free packs of my product to influencers to provide review to their followers.

 UniConnect

Business Idea: UniConnect is a platform that connects students, alumni and staff from the same university, allowing them to work together on small scale projects such as start-ups, societies, clubs and similar. 

Why we are passionate about it:  In the past we’ve experienced difficulties launching ideas of our own, especially having troubles finding appropriate people to work with. Having UniConnect available in universities will allow students, like us, to overcome this obstacle

If we won pitching finals: First, we would produce a prototype of the platform. We would then consider participating in other tournaments, to gain further feedback, connections, social proof and possibly money. With this initial money, we would pay for consultancy services, to start growing our business.

Future steps: We will approach universities to show them our prototype and idea to attract their interest and gain feedback. At the same time, we will be meeting with investors to get funding. We will readjust our budget, given the funding we raise, to produce an affordable platform, and start providing our service to universities. 

 

Emmanuel Ojo-Williams 

Business idea: Mindshare is an all-in-one platform for creating, selling and marketing digital products. 

Why are you passionate about it? I believe it’s a crucial innovation needed to enable the social commerce industry. I want to ensure people can invest in unconventional education as securely as conventional education, empowering people to share what they know and learn new things. 

What would you do if you won pitching finals? I’ll use the positive energy generated by winning the pitching finals to empower my team and remind them what we’re building is important. 

Future Plans: I hope to be able to empower people of skills in tough financial situations to create a new stream of income that’s controlled solely by them. 

Click here to watch the awards via zoom.

Read more about the Business Start Up Journey and Awards here.

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