The annual Aston Enterprise competition culminated in a dragon’s den style final on Thursday 7 March. Winner Ben Smith beat off tough competition to be awarded the first prize of £500 from Ernst and Young, a market research package from Marketest, plus training and mentoring. Ben is set to launch his business, Frumtious specialising in the manufacture of healthy fruit based jelly in the next few weeks.
Close runners up were Anthony Catt and Devon Parker with their social enterprise PeopleMind, which aims to support young homeless people in Birmingham through the up-cycling of material. PeopleMind received a £250 prize from Santander plus a package of support.
The judging panel were made up of industry experts including Tripp Martin, MBA Careers Advisor Aston Business School, Simon Hague MBA from Aston Business School and Director of Think Create Share/Where’s My Lunch, Mike Bandar Aston Alumni and Entrepreneur, Naomi Brown from Ernst and Young, and Simona Popa, NACUE.
Mike Bandar commented “It was a really difficult decision. All the finalists pitched well and had compelling propositions. Ben had the most thoroughly thought out business proposal and even presented the panel with a product to try on the night. It is great to see so many enterprising students and graduates at Aston.”
Both winner and runners up have recently been accepted onto the BSEEN (Birmingham Skills for Enterprise and Employability Network) programme.
BSEEN offers students and graduates a great package of intensive start-up support for new ventures. Successful participants benefit from a variety of workshops, networking opportunities, tailored mentoring, grant and work space at Birmingham Science Park Aston, Birmingham City University or the University of Birmingham.
BSEEN, part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund, is a collaborative initiative between Aston University, University of Birmingham and Birmingham City University.
For more information about BSEEN email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0121 204 5202.
Photo caption: Competition finalists Ben Smith, David Chen, Jonathan Coleman, Shannon Dunphy, Anthony Catt and Devon Parker.