Strathclyde entrepreneurs participate in funding pitch competition
A competition hosted by the University of Strathclyde’s entrepreneurship programme had students and alumni’s start-ups stake their claims for funding.
Strathclyde’s Inspire100 event saw companies founded by students and alumni compete for prizes worth a total of £10,000 to help their businesses get off the ground. They were judged on three-minute pitches bye a panel of experienced investors and entrepreneurs at the University’s Students’ Union.
The event featured a diverse range of companies, in fields including fitness, sustainability, technology and coffee. Two awards were up for grabs: one for start-ups currently in Inspire’s accelerator programme and working towards investor readiness, while the other for start-ups which have already been through the accelerator programme and now seeking investment.
The accelerator prize was awarded to Christopher Hoy for his sustainable product development company Paperflüte and the investor-ready prize went to David White for his sport and fitness goods company BGR Training.
Paperflüte is a sustainable consumer product company, which aims to help reduce use of plastics. For his first product range, Christopher has developed high-quality, paper-based alternatives to the best-selling children’s toys.
Christopher said: “Inspire 100 was a great event and the first time that I’d been able to get the product in front of people. Being able to showcase it in person made such a difference, and the event gave me a real confidence boost in terms of how people reacted to the product and the feedback from the judging panel.
“I’m looking to launch a KickStart campaign soon, so I’ll be putting the funds towards that – it really couldn’t have come at a better time for the business.”
The other company BGR Training is creating retractable and portable gym, consisting of bars, grips and rings using sensor technology for a smart and connected product with next-generation AI coaching capabilities. The company was also recently a winner in the Scottish EDGE pitch competition for businesses.
David said: “After having sat in the audience for so many previous Inspire 100 events, it was great to finally have the opportunity to pitch to the strong network that it attracts.
“I am obviously thrilled to receive the funding prize money that will help me strengthen sales as I aim to grow the business, but I am equally thrilled with the connections I made during networking and the opportunities that could develop as a result.”
Other pitches at Inspire100 included: Javier Gutiérrez of tea and coffee company Caribbean Goods, Saber Khayatzadeh of software company CrackMap and Janani Prabhakaran of luggage storage company Unbaggaged.
Dr Olga Kozlova, Strathclyde’s director of innovation and industry engagement, said: “We had great pleasure in hosting the first in-person Inspire100 event since the pandemic began and heard many fascinating ideas for ambitious, inventive businesses.
“The role of Strathclyde Inspire is to support new generations of adventurous and bold entrepreneurs. For an economy, and indeed a society, to thrive, it needs exactly this type of entrepreneurially minded individuals and nurturing these companies is one of the major contributions we can make.
“We offer our congratulations to our winners, and to all the competitors, and we look forward to them continuing to flourish.”
Judges for the competition were: Siobhan Moore, investment manager with Social Investment Scotland; Niki McKenzie, joint managing director of Archangel Investors Limited, and Neil Logan, co-founder and CEO of Incremental Group and Strathclyde Senior Enterprise Fellow.
The event was chaired by Strathclyde Inspire supporter David Bowie and the guest speaker was Allan Cannon, Strathclyde alumnus and founder of space technology company R3iot.