Search begins for Imperial’s next leading student entrepreneurs | Imperial News

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Two of Imperial College’s biggest entrepreneurship competitions are back in search of the best student innovators.

The Academy’s flagship entrepreneurship competitions are the WE Innovate and Venture Catalyst Challenge.

Championing Women-Leaded Teams

WE Innovate champions women-led teams with entrepreneurial ideas to explore. This 6-month program supports the development of up to 25 teams through masterclasses, business mentoring, 1-on-1 expert support and peer mentoring.

The scheme is divided into three phases, during which 25 teams become the final five to compete for a share of the £30,000 prize money.

develop an innovative idea

The Venture Catalyst Challenge (VCC) is the College’s flagship entrepreneurship competition for students, alumni and early-career researchers to develop and win commercialized innovative ideas. The program includes three months of workshops, mentoring, expert sessions, alumni panel discussions and pitch training aimed at turning ideas into commercial reality.

Teams will have the opportunity to share in the £90,000 prize pool, with the winner of the Grand Final receiving £20,000.

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Many teams have played in both competitions with great success. Read on to learn more.

Community Health Monitoring

UNTAP is developing smart community health monitoring using sewage. The team, co-founded by Engineering PhD graduates Dr Claire Trant and Dr Jay Bullen, finished third in WE Innovate 2022, winning £3,000 for their business. Since then, they have spoken at London Demo Days, an annual collaborative event between Imperial, King’s College London and UCL to showcase the capital’s best start-ups.

A woman in a green dress gives a presentation
Untap co-founder Dr. Claire Trant

Most recently, the team won three awards in Phase 2 – the largest pan-European competition for the best start-ups from leading universities. The team received a EUR 250,000 investment for the best technology innovation and a EUR 15,000 female founder award.

teaching fixed skills

Another team participating in WE Innovate 2022 is Team Repair, which is developing a program to send intentionally malfunctioning electronics to kids aged 8-12 for repair, with the aim of teaching them critical science and repair skills.

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As well as being runners up in WE Innovate, the team won the Business Engineer Award – receiving up to £3,000 in grants and mentorship from the Business Engineer Scholarship, a charity that promotes the importance and value of business education to engineers Improve people’s lives and the performance of the UK and global economy.

All of the winning teams were invited to take part in a champion-to-champion final at the Royal Academy of Engineering recently. Here, the team won the first prize of £3,000 in the start-up category.

Teams before the VCC have also had great success.

home breast monitoring

Dotplot, which has won £30,000 in the VCC 2022 final, recently won the National James Dyson Award. Founded by innovative design engineering graduates Debra Babalola and Shefali Bohra, Dotplot is an at-home breast monitoring tool that guides users as they check for breast abnormalities and connects to an app.

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Two women smiling and holding a trophy
VCC finalists

The James Dyson Award is an international design award that recognizes, inspires and inspires the next generation of design engineers. The team has won the UK’s Dyson Award and has entered an international competition where the winner was announced in November.

Two previous VCC teams, Saltyco and Multus, also recently had the opportunity to speak with Labor leader Keir Starmer about their start-ups. Saltyco CEO Julian Ellis-Brown discusses his team’s work in making planet-friendly textiles with Multus CEO Cai Linton, who are creating key ingredients that make cultured meat affordable and profitable.

Applications for both programs close at 11.59pm on Sunday 4 December and further details can be found on the application form.

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