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York Computer Science Undergraduates go head-to-head in ‘Virtual’ Dragons’ Den style competition

Posted on 25 March 2021

A cash prize for this year’s most compelling business proposal has been awarded to the Business group, Balancely by the course’s sponsors Netsells, and Piksel.

A cash prize for this year’s most compelling business proposal has been awarded to the Business group, Balancely by the course’s sponsors Netsells, and Piksel.

The Engineers in Business Fellowship, who have also supported the course, will sponsor the University wide Dragon’s Den competition on 22 April 2021. The winners and top runners up of that competition will be put forward to represent University of York against almost 30 other UK Universities for the ‘Champion of Champions’ accolade!

Undergraduates in the Department of Computer Science have been teaming up to develop tech related business ideas for the Business Innovation and Entrepreneurship module. The course opened with lectures and practical sessions via Zoom, covering a range of topics related to tech entrepreneurship, and how to set up and run a business. These initial ideas progressed into a project phase where students formed business plans in small groups. On Wednesday 17 March initial ideas were pitched competitively to a team of Dragons comprising leaders of local tech businesses and senior University staff. (Including Piksel, Netsells and Make it York.)

The winning pitch was from six first year students – Amelia Wigglesworth, Dom Hall, Benjamin Withnell, Morgan Elkins, Danny Burrows and Charlotte Gayton - who devised a venture called Balancely, which is a platform designed to manage your work-life balance effectively through using AI to understand your most productive times and to balance the right amount of concentration vs downtime, rest vs activity.  

 

Amela and Charlotte both commented on their experience of the course and the competition so far,

“Thank you! I’m still buzzing from yesterday! Thanks for letting me invite family my too - my parents stayed up extra late to watch and they really enjoyed it.

I’m really looking forward to continuing with the project, it has honestly been one of the few highlights of this locked-down term,’ Amelia, Balancely

'I just wanted to say, I have really enjoyed the business course this term, it’s been the highlight of my week! I think it was run brilliantly and is always engaging and fun. If there were more opportunities in the future I definitely would, and I’m sure the others would as well, love to do the course again or something similar. Is there anything planned for next year?’
-Charlotte, Balancely

Balancely weren’t the only successful business ideas, three of the groups ideas have been recommended by the judges to go forward to the next competition on 22 April, the University-wide Engineers in Business Competition. The other two are, ‘Rocker’, a local music promotion and discovery app developed by Adam Caldwell and James Wilkinson, and ‘Hungri’, a recipe generation app for those of us who suffer from food intolerances’ or who struggle to find enjoyable meals. Hungri has been developed by Joe Fuller and Tinetariro Muzunzandare.   

James enjoyed the course and sent this lovely email to the course leader, Heather Niven.  

“Awesome! Just wanted to thank you for teaching this course because it’s definitely been my favourite module of the term. I loved it and it’s been so fun! 

Today was great and really looking forward to the next stages.”

“This year we have had a super group of students taking part in the BIE module and I have had a delightful time working with the groups to help them shape their ideas and pitches, I very much look forward to the next stage and hopefully we can get our students to the finals! Says Heather, course leader.”

All of the successful teams will now strengthen their concepts before meeting again to pitch at the Engineers in Business Fellowship cross-departmental competition on 22 April 2pm-4.30pm. This event will involve significant prize money (£3000) and an impressive array of Dragons who determine which York Champions progress to the national Champion of Champions event held in London later in the year. Spectators will be welcomed to check out the entrepreneurial talent that’s developing within the Department. 

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