Posted on 25 April 2019
Last term, undergraduates from all year groups teamed up to develop tech related business ideas for the Business Innovation and Entrepreneurship module run by Professor Dick Whittington.
On Wednesday 13 March, the student teams pitched their ideas competitively to a team of Dragons, and three pitches were selected to progress into the York finals:
Runforge: A social-running game conceived by two first years.
Sign: A visual service that auto-generates sign language from speech, conceived by a mixed year group of three students
Assemble: A digital product development toolkit, conceived by three third year students.
Over the Easter vacation, the teams strengthened their pitches ahead of the York finals on 17 April, when the three CS teams pitched against two qualifying teams of third-year Interactive Media students from TFTV:
CheckIt: A barcode scanner for sufferers from allergies, intolerances or restricted diets.
FashionSense: Revitalising the high street by helping people put together outfits.
The Dragons on 17 April included leaders of successful local tech businesses Hiscox, Netsells and Piksel, plus representatives from University Enterprise.
The competition was also joined by Sam Cockerill, CEO of Libertine and a Sainsbury Management Fellow who said "The quality of the business concepts and presentations was impressive, and it’s encouraging to see innovation and entrepreneurship being taught and demonstrated at York University in this way which is very much in line with the aims of the EIBF and the business competition."
Choosing a winner from the five teams was extremely tough and the judging period needed to be extended to give the Dragons time to reach a conclusion.
After almost an hour of deliberation, two teams were elected joint-winners of the York competition:
Runforge, Computer Science:
The teams will share the £3,000 prize together with PR and mentoring services provided by the Fellowship. Sam Cockerill said "I think both are worthy regional winners and stand a good chance at the national competition."
Jack Thoo-Tinsley from Runforge says "The Engineers In Business Fellowship scheme has challenged me in ways I don't usually come across in my regular curriculum. What I have gained most from the course are the transferable skills, particularly the public speaking aspects that can only benefit and push me further in life."
Professor Whittington, who originated the scheme in York said "The EIBF prize challenged students to stretch to a further degree of professionalism in the development and pitching of their business ideas. The stimulus of the prize money and the further opportunities offered by the scheme galvanised students competitively to perform at a level that seriously impressed all who attended the event."
The teams will now further develop their business ideas and pitches ahead of the Champion of Champions event. The prize that they will be aiming for is £10,000 plus substantial assistance with launching and developing their businesses.
This will be the first time a team from York has competed – let’s wish them well!