From education to employment

Entrepreneurial students and graduates share £9,000 of start-up funding

University of Chester Venture Pitch 2023 winners

Entrepreneurial University of Chester students and graduates with growing enterprises in areas from photography and fashion to health and cybersecurity have been awarded a share of £9,000 start-up funding.

Courtesy of Santander Universities UK, the boost to their initiatives is part of the University’s Venture Programme

A total of 12 shortlisted student and graduate business pioneers attended a two-day event in June aimed at supporting their ventures, which included the opportunity to pitch their proposals to a panel of judges for start-up funding and a range of business prizes.

This year marked the involvement of more than 1,500 University of Chester students and graduates in enterprise activity and the creation of over 130 new businesses from the Venture Pitch.

All 12 pitchers were rewarded with a one-to-one mentoring package with business coaches and industry experts, and eight business ideas received a share of the funding which will enable them to progress their ideas and move their businesses forward.

Judged by Mike Skinner, RTC North; Hems de Winter, Hems de Winter Consulting; David Murphy, Forresters; Jemima Antwi, Mimes Reusables; Helen Shanley, The Chester VA; Chris Sharkey, Business Mentor and Freelance Lecturer, and Chris Lawlan, Employer Engagement Administrator at the University of Chester, participants were asked to deliver a five-minute pitch outlining their business idea and model.

Five businesses received a share of £6,500 funding which was kindly given by Santander Universities UK, with Venture Grants from the University’s Careers and Employability service also awarded to pitchers. In addition, more than £20,000 worth of business support prizes were awarded during the event. The Careers and Employability team would like to acknowledge the generous support and sponsorship offered by: Santander Universities UK, Forresters IP; Hems de Winter; Chris Sharkey; Bec Bates; Katy Carlisle; Mick Roberts; Chris Berry; Lukas Works, and the Riverside Innovation Centre.

The Venture Programme equips students and graduates with the skills and knowledge to start up a business or build on their freelance career. Accessible to students from all disciplines and levels of study and graduates, Venture consists of a unique blend of content from industry partners to support people at different stages of their entrepreneurial journey. 

Students and graduates who had been involved in the Venture Programme during the year have the opportunity to apply.

The successful pitchers were:

Angharad Davies and her business partner Georgia Croud. Angharad is a postgraduate Psychology student who was awarded £2,750 for Good Girl, a business connecting women to their inner self through empowerment-focused photography and events. Angharad and Georgia were also awarded one-to-one intensive business coaching with Chris Sharkey, one-to-one marketing coaching with Hems de Winter, and two-hour trademark consultancy and £200 fees covered.

Matthew Clarke, a final year undergraduate Cybersecurity student, was presented with £1,250 for Digital Shield, a cybersecurity start-up that offers comprehensive and affordable cybersecurity solutions to businesses. Matthew was also awarded a start-up website with Katy Carlisle (SQSP Queen) and one-to-one marketing coaching with Hems de Winter.

Daniel Jones, a postgraduate Geography and International Development student, was awarded £1,250 for Flood Doctor, a flood consultancy business providing affordable, tailored, and easy-to-understand support to flood-exposed communities throughout the UK. Daniel also won an Apple iPad, a professional logo design by Lukas Works, and one-to-one marketing coaching with Hems de Winter.

Patrick Lloyd, a postgraduate Engineering Management student received £1,000 for Engineering Executive, a YouTube channel that will provide engineering students with engaging and informative videos to help them understand key engineering principles. Patrick was also awarded one-to-one intensive business coaching with Chris Sharkey, a professional logo, a video production and marketing package, a vocal coaching and presentation skills package.

Eleanor Jones, Josh Sellings and Aaron Jones are all undergraduates on the Business Management course, and business partners in A Wild Life, who produce cardboard boxes that are integrated with flower seedsto carbon offset the emissions created by the parcel’s delivery. They were awarded £1,000 Santander funding, a £500 Careers and Employability grant and one-to-one intensive business coaching with Chris Sharkey.

Jamie Tingle, a PGCE Primary graduate, was awarded £250 for his guitar tuition business, Lighter Notes. He also won a social media coaching package, a professional logo and one-to-one mentoring session with Katy Carlisle.

Anthony Fumen Yawa, a postgraduate Data Science student, received £500 for MetaMart, his virtual try-on business providing a unique solution which allows customers to try on clothes virtually before purchasing. Anthony was also awarded a professional logo and one-to-one mentoring sessions with Katy Carlisle.

Frank Eze, a postgraduate Data Science student, was awarded one-to-one marketing consultancy with Hems de Winter for Rethink, a digital app solution aimed at offering support by reducing the cost and burden of diabetes in the UK.

Albert Kyei-Kankam Poakwah, a postgraduate Public Health student, will now benefit from one-to-one mentoring sessions with Katy Carlisle for Food Genius, a business thatsupports food companies to succeed and safely share their products across the globe, by providing mentorship, business training, and marketing support.

Feronika Suhartono, a postgraduate Educational Leadership student, was awarded one-to-one marketing consultancy with Hems de Winter for Mind. Set. Go, a business that offers life training and coaching sessions, which are affordable and competitive, through interactive learning.

Ryan McKenna, a Mathematics postgraduate, was awarded one-to-one intensive business coaching with Chris Sharkey and a professional logo for Fluente, a language learning mobile app which teaches language learners new words and concepts quickly through fast-paced mini games.

Amber Gaffoor, Entrepreneurship Co-ordinator within the University’s Careers and Employability team, said: “The Venture Pitch 2023 showcased an outstanding amount of entrepreneurial spirit and talent across the University. Each and every individual showed true commitment and passion in pursuing their business idea and we are so excited to see them continue their business journeys. I would like to thank our Venture partners and Santander Universities for their continued support.”

Matt Hutnell, Director, Santander Universities UK, added: “At Santander, we recognise the crucial role that start-ups, scale-ups and small businesses play in building and strengthening the UK economy. We support the innovators of the future at every stage of their journey, connecting them to the funding, training, exposure, and networks they need to grow their business ideas.” 

For more information about Santander Universities UK, visit:

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