Salford student entrepreneurs bid for share of £13k pot at Big Pitch Final

Categories: Schools

University of Salford students flexed their entrepreneur skills by pitching for thousands of pounds in funding for their business ideas at the Big Pitch Competition Final.

Eight students took to the floor at the Digital Performance Lab at our Media City campus on Wednesday 10 May to present their business plans to win awards of up to £3,000.

The projects receiving funding included a business called Custom Acoustical which specialises in the design and production of adaptable and artistic acoustic treatments for modern studios and music venues, a sustainable foot health practice, aerial cinematography and specialised online fitness programmes for professional dancers with reduced injury risks.

Calum Smeaton, an Acoustics student who won £3,000 for Custom Acoustical, said: “I’ve been on quite a journey with my business idea and it seems like it’s all coming together now. The competition has really helped me and winning the money will allow me to move forward with the production.”

Podiatry graduate Suzanne Taylor’s sustainable foot health practice idea, called Aspire Podiatry, was commended by the judges for its detailed business plan and was also awarded £3,000.

She said: “It has been fantastic to have been involved in the final and I am just delighted to have been awarded the money. This will be invested in purchasing the autoclave my business needs. This has really helped me.”

In total, £13,000 was awarded on the day. Film production student Joseph Gaughan and English and Creative Writing student Dr Caty Flynn both received £2,000 for their businesses. Fashion student Catherine Watts and Media and Cultural Student Oghomwensemwen Aimie Adeyinka-Edward both received £1,000. Dance student Eleanor Stephenson and Visual Arts & Contemporary Fine Art student Teresa Wilson were also awarded £500 each.

The event was run by the University’s Library Careers and Enterprise Team and presented by Professor Andy Miah, Chair in Science Communication and Future Media at the University, who said: “The Big Pitch was an absolutely inspiring event, with each one of our students demonstrating the characteristics we desire for all of our graduates.

“To stand up and pitch an idea with passion and a business plan is a critical part of making it in today’s world and our students didn’t disappoint. I look forward to supporting this remarkable campaign in the next academic year and am amazingly proud that our Library Careers and Enterprise team are leading this.”

The finalists came from an initial 36-person pool of contestants who had initially pitched their business ideas back in January 2023. The competition was open to all students and a wide range of new and creative ideas were brought forward from the very start.

Ian Boardman, Head of the Careers & Enterprise team that ran the competition, said: “The Big Pitch Competition reflected a culmination of support provided to our entrepreneurial students and alumni this year.

“It showcased new businesses created out of the University and it was amazing to learn about the variety of business ideas and plans as well as the stories of personal exploration and resilience behind them, in areas as varied as visual art, aerial cinematography, children’s media, 3D fashion, athletic dance, well-being consultancy, acoustic engineering and podiatry.”

The judging panel for the event consisted of Liam Bradford, English Literature alumnus and Owner of Melting in Productions, Elisabete Da Silva, Project Management alumna and founder of Atelier Lis Silva, Ria Munshi,  Performing Arts graduate and Artistic Director of Ri Ri’s Dance Academy & Keven Parker, Economics alumnus and Partner at NorthEdge Capital LLP.

Keven added: “It has been a real privilege to return to the University of Salford and see it thriving with such a diverse range of student entrepreneurs. The judging was very difficult given the very high standard of business start-up ideas and I am confident success lies ahead for all the finalists.”

Salford students or graduates that are 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

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