Empowering innovation: Salford's student entrepreneurs access £26.5K start-up fund

Categories: Schools

The Big Pitch competition returned for its second year, drawing attention from aspiring student entrepreneurs across the University of Salford's campus. On Monday 29 April 2024, the event held in the Digital Performance Lab at our Media City campus, showcased the entrepreneurial flair of nine finalists selected from a pool of over 100 applications.

Among the finalists were Safwaan Mohmed and James Donaldson, whose business ventures exemplified innovation and potential. Safwaan's business, Recruitment Bar, aimed to revolutionize student recruitment processes, earning him the prestigious Diamond Award and £6,000 in startup capital. Reflecting on his journey, Safwaan expressed gratitude: “I truly believe this wouldn’t have been possible without the professional development I have received through the guidance and expertise made available to all students at The University of Salford via the Careers & Enterprise workshops and 1-on-1 sessions”

James Donaldson, whose business idea evolved into a viable model, secured £5,000 in startup funds, thanks to The Big Pitch. James said, “Thanks to The Big Pitch, I not only turned my whimsical idea into a viable business model, I pitched that idea to an expert panel and won £5,000 in startup money to turn it into a reality. I strongly encourage any students who are interested to partake, not just for the potential funding, but for the insight and experience.”

In total, £26,500 was awarded on the day. Yasmin Edwards, a Managing Innovation and Information Technology student, and Helen Ward, specializing in Counselling & Psychotherapy, each received £3,000 for their burgeoning ventures. James Miles, a Graduate Student in Comedy Writing and Performance, and Massimiliano Campbell-Brambilla, a Sport Science student, were each honoured with £2,500. Additionally, Abbie Norbury, a Media Psychology student, Thomas Landbeck, who specialises in Acoustical and Audio Engineering, and Jamie Lucas, pursuing Business Management with Finance, were each awarded £1,500 to fuel their entrepreneurial aspirations.

The event was run by the University’s Library Careers and Enterprise Team.  Ian Boardman, Head of Careers and Enterprise, explains: “The University of Salford has a proud history of working with industry and partners, supporting the creation of new businesses and social enterprises, these awards provide funds to entrepreneurial students and inspire others to explore self-employment career journeys and develop their enterprise skills.”

The Big Pitch Competition was hosted by Professor Andy Miah, Chair in Science Communication and Future Media at the University, who said: “This year, the BIG pitch was another resounding success with some truly inspirational student entrepreneurs pitching their business ideas. It’s a fantastic demonstration of how university life gives people time to think big and solve difficult challenges and I’m enormously proud to host the event.”

The judging panel for the event consisted of Liam Bradford, English Literature alumnus and Owner of Melting in Productions, Oghomwen Adeyinka-Edward, finalists of the Big Pitch Competition 2023 and founder of Esopip Children’s Media, Ria Munshi, Performing Arts graduate and Artistic Director of Ri Ri’s Dance Academy & Tom Parson, Director and Founder of Huddle.

The Big Pitch Competition not only celebrates innovation but also fosters a supportive environment for student entrepreneurs to thrive. As participants, our nine finalists continue to pave the way for future generations of innovators, and the University of Salford remains committed to nurturing entrepreneurial talent and fostering a culture of creativity and success.

Liam Bradford added: “I was delighted to be asked to judge The Big Pitch for the second successive year and to see the growth of the entrepreneurs and their ideas was absolutely fantastic. I’m incredibly proud to be a University of Salford alumnus and to see the impressive things being done by both the University and its students is fantastic. After a tough competition, I wish all of the finalists well with their eclectic range of ideas.”

Salford students or graduates seeking to develop a business idea and would like support can get help by contacting the Careers and Enterprise team at careers&enterprise@salford.ac.uk or following the link Work for yourself | University of Salford 

For all press office enquiries please email communications@salford.ac.uk.