The Lord Sainsbury backed Engineers in Business Competition, which inspires engineering students and graduates to develop life changing business innovations through university enterprise competitions culminated in the first Champion of Champions Grand Final at the Royal Academy of Engineering. 

Ten teams that won their university heat of their Dragons’ Den style competitions reached the Grand Final where they competed for a share of £10,000 and mentoring to help them take their business innovation to the next step, be that developing a prototype, product testing or marketing.

Key awards included

Lord Sainsbury awarded Rapid Bio-Lab, an innovative AI medical services company, a £5,000 Enterprise Award to help the team of inventors from the University of Greenwich to develop their idea and save lives by speeding up the laborious, but vital process of cell-counting.

The Gold Award of £3,000 went to Ben Lindsay, a Product Design Engineering student and Emma McQuiggan, a Mechanical Engineering student at Queen’s University Belfast.  They created a new company, Stand, and invented BOLD, a smart safety alert system which looks like a piece of contemporary jewellery.  If the wearer feels at risk, they simply press their BOLD and it automatically sends their location and a text to pre-selected contacts without having to use a mobile phone.  BOLD uses a new low power mobile standard called NB-IoT which allows the product to be much smaller and more discrete than any other previous technology.

David Falzani MBE, President of Engineers in Business Fellowship which runs the competition with 27 universities throughout the UK, said: 

“Our contestants presented a diversity of high-quality innovations and  it was an incredibly difficult decision to select the winners.  Rapid Bio-Labs won the Enterprise Award for their ingenuity and passion for developing a solution that will   advance medical research.

“Our Engineers in Business Competition promotes the importance and value of business education for engineers to enable them to create products and services that improve people’s lives, the environment and the economy.

“Research shows that introducing business education to young engineers and technologists makes them better engineers, makes them more employable, more effective in the workplace, and is better for the engineering profession and the UK economy.

“We provide universities with funding for a dedicated engineers prize and this has resulted in a 25% uplift in the number of engineers taking part in business innovation competitions at the 27 universities EIBF sponsors.

Engineers in Business Competition

Thirty-three years ago, Lord Sainsbury founded the Sainsbury Management Fellowship (SMF), which today comprise 365 engineers who have been sponsored by Lord Sainsbury’s Gatsby Charitable Foundation to complete an international MBA at the world’s top business schools.  The purpose of the SMF Scheme is to equip engineers with business skills so that they can help to improve the performance of the UK economy.

The fellowship promotes and demonstrates the value of a combined business and engineering education.  It firstly does this by selecting the brightest young engineers and providing them with scholarships to the top 14 MBA schools in the world. It then provides an alumni support and development network, as well as a programme of outbound communications, to encourage and inspire engineering students and young engineers to develop business skills.

The SMF has achieved considerable results: More than 40%  hold executive board roles, and 34% have non-executive roles, many SMFs are entrepreneurs and 63 are successful repeat entrepreneurs. Eighty per cent of SMFs support and mentor young engineers. 

In 2012 the Sainsbury Management Fellowship became a registered charity called Engineers in Business Fellowship (EIBF) and extended its remit to find new ways to encourage engineers to learn business skills. To meet this need, EIBF developed the Engineers in Business Competition. This offers a £3,000 prize fund to individual universities for a specific prize for engineers.

In return, our university partners promote their competitions to their engineers and report on results at the end.  As well as cash prizes, winners have access to Sainsbury Management Fellows as mentors and to job search materials from our sponsor Purple CV.

EIBF has a total of £700,000 to award to universities that run enterprise competitions that embrace  engineers. 

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