The UK’s universities are a hotbed of emergent entrepreneurs, any one of whom could go on to become the next Mark Zuckerberg or Larry Page. Which is why it’s so important to recognise and foster the game-changing ideas emerging from the country’s education system. Fortunately we don’t need to tell Santander: its fifth annual Santander Universities Entrepreneurship Awards have once again celebrated the most exciting entrepreneurial endeavours to be born out of British universities.
Held at Santander’s UK headquarters and attended by 48 VCs, principals and presidents from universities and colleges, the awards recognised the three best undergraduate and postgraduate start-up businesses to grow from UK campuses. The winners were selected from a shortlist of ten entrepreneurial students by a panel of judges from universities, business schools and Santander. Each netted cash prizes ranging from £1,000 to £20,000, with the top prize going to Mediwikis, the medical revision community.
The full list of winners is as follows:
First prize: PickProtection from the University of Strathclyde
Second prize: Roomshake from the University of Lancaster
Third prize: BeautyFind from Queen’s University Belfast
First prize: Mediwikis from Newcastle University
Second prize: WingLights from City University London
Third prize: @Shrimpingit from the University of Lancaster
Not content with giving just these six businesses a boost, Santander Universities also announced 2,000 mobility awards to allow international and UK students to continue their studies abroad, 2,000 internships through its SME Internship Programme, 500 SME work placements and a digital fund to provide £5,000 to 78 university partners for digital activities that boost education and research capabilities.
“The UK needs new ideas, state of the art products and innovative companies, and it’s impressive to see so many students demonstrating a great deal of skill and initiative,” said Nathan Bostock, CEO at Santander UK. “The UK has one of the best higher education systems in the world and is the perfect breeding ground for entrepreneurs. At Santander we want to reward and encourage students to dare to invent, innovate, create, and be entrepreneurial.”
Stuart Maitland, co-founder of Mediwikis, commented: “We are extremely happy to win these awards as it enables us to enter a new phase of growth with the project. It will also allow us to reach out to more and more campuses across the UK and help more medical students to build their own learning communities on campus.”
With Santander Universities research showing that 24% of students run or intend to start their own business at university, awards like this could hardly be timelier.