The Inspire Launch Grow event showcases the exceptional entrepreneurial talent from students and academic staff at the University of Edinburgh. This prestigious event took place on Monday 5th June in the Informatics Forum at The University of Edinburgh and marked an important milestone at the University and a special thank you presentation was given to the Principal, Professor Sir Timothy O’Shea, who is due to step down from his role as Principal of the University, and who has been a great supporter of enterprise during his 15-year tenure. To reflect his interest in robotics and as a thank you for his support the Principal was presented with his very own Marty the Robot from Robotical a previous ILG Innovation Cup winner.
In honour of the Principal’s support of enterprise a ‘Through the Years’ exhibition was held to throw the spotlight on 15 of the University’s most interesting spin outs and start-ups from the last 15 years. Those participating in the event included: Fanduel, an Edinburgh unicorn; Pufferfish a unique technology company with customers such as Coldplay; pureLiFi which is seeking to replace the current Wi-Fi system and Krotos an innovative audio tool which has been featured in the live-action remake of the Jungle Book and the Avengers: Age of Ulton.
Grant Wheeler, Head of Enterprise Development at ERI commented on the success of the night ‘The entrepreneurial talent here at The University of Edinburgh is amongst the best in the UK and this is reflected in the quality of this year’s entries to the ILG awards. The presence of so many successful companies that started here at the University, during the Principals term of office, highlights the first class support that we provide to the student and staff network.
This year, £20,000 worth of prize money has been made available across four key categories – The Innovation Cup, Emerging Innovation Award, the Social and Environment Award and The Enterprise Award. In addition to the main prizes, all finalists will receive a set of professional photos, a pop-up banner and a professional video.
The Emerging Innovation Award is for research or technology based business ideas with future potential. The 2017 winner was Lissa Herron with Eggcellent Proteins who will receive £1,500. An innovative cost effective method of expressing recombinant proteins using transgenic chickens. The valuable proteins have both research and therapeutic use, with applications in cancer, chronic disease, and cell therapy.
The runner-up was Murray Collins with Sigma Tree who will receive £500. Sigma Tree is an automated mapping of deforestation for companies in the forestry sector.
One of the biggest awards of ILG is the Innovation Cup. An annual business competition for all academic staff, students and alumni of The University of Edinburgh, with research or technology-based business ideas that are particularly innovative. The winner receives £5000 cash towards their business and the runner up will receive £1000 towards developing their business.
This year’s winners with Invisius are Dr Andy Herbert, Richard Boyd, Dr Sunay Chankeshwara and Dr Elisavet Makou. Invisius is a next generation of coating with the potential to protect invasive medical devices, or organs for transplantation from damage by the immune system. Using Invisius on invasive medical devices will improve device performance and reduce additional healthcare costs.
The runner-up was Douglas Martin with MiAlgae. A new age microalgal production company that aims to revolutionize the £340 billion global livestock industry by producing products as supplements for fishmeal.
The Enterprise Award is a business competition for all academic staff, students and alumni (up to two years after graduation) of The University of Edinburgh, who have ideas or ventures with outstanding commercial potential. The winner will receive a £5000 prize and the runner-up will receive £1000.
This year the judges could not decide between two finalists and have announced a joint first place! Each will receive £3000.
Joint first place winners Sam Howarth and Jack Ryder with their innovative business – Bump. An eBay in reverse for sneakerheads and streetwear enthusiasts. List what you want to buy. Sellers can browse, find a buyer and quickly make a sale with zero fees.
Sharing the Joint first place is Cavid Nadirov with GetGuided. An online platform connecting travellers and travel businesses providing unique off-beat experiences by local guides.
A new category was created for 2017 after a record-breaking number of social enterprises entered this year’s Inspire Launch Grow. This category recognises those who have potential to impact and benefit local communities, environment, specific groups or society. The winner will receive £5,000 and the runner-up will receive £1,000.
This year’s winner is James Turing of The Turing Trust with SolarBerry. The SolarBerry is a self-financing, community-owned offline and off-grid computer lab powered by solar energy with energy-efficient Rapsberry Pi computers. Their mission is to improve access to educational resources in off-grid Malawian communities like those found around Mzuzu, Northern Malawi.
This year’s runner-up is Alexandros Angelopoulos and Samuel Kellerhals with Elpis. A solar-powered charging station capable of powering 3,600 phones per month, while also enabling end-users to access educational digital services for free without a connection to the internet required. Already installed across eight refugee camps in Greece.
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