The entrepreneurial success of University of Edinburgh staff, students and alumni was celebrated recently at ERI's annual Inspire, Launch, Grow 2015 Awards.
The Inspire, Launch, Grow Awards recognise the exceptional entrepreneurial talent within the University, and those who have started to develop their own business or have identified commercial applications for their research.
Fifty-nine hopeful entrepreneurs entered the competition, with twelve eventually shortlisted for the finals.
Overall winners on the night were:
- Innovation Cup - Alexander Enoch (Red Robotics)
- Enterprise Award - Adam Bennet (Post Roast)
The Innovation Cup category is open to entrants with research or technology-based, high-growth business ideas, while the Enterprise Award is geared towards those who have an idea or existing venture with outstanding commercial potential.
Innovation Cup award winner, Alexander Enoch from the School of Informatics, founded Red Robotics, which produces low cost, accessible and functional walking, 3D printed robots for education and hobbyists.
Innovation Cup runners-up prizes were awarded to Dr Richard Walker from Photon Force who make sensors that detect single photons and Dr Mike Mangan from Skyline Sensors who has developed a patent-pending sensor technology which allows segmentation of the sky in an image.
Student Adam Bennet, from the School of Chemistry, achieved first place in the Enterprise Award with his company Post Roast an innovative online coffee distribution platform that delivers fresh roasted coffee to its members each week.
Enterprise Award runners-up prizes were awarded to Hannah Dimsdale of Teadough; the original donut kit and Andrew Harkins from Turtle Pack and innovative swimming aid for teaching new swimmers.
Winners of both awards received £5,000 prize money to further their business venture, while the runners up each received £1,000 towards developing their business.
Two further awards were made on the night to recognise achievement in entrepreneurship.
The Entrepreneurial Achievement Award recognises an alumni’s impact, through entrepreneurship, on the business world. This was awarded to Gavin Dutch, founder and CEO of Kotikan, the fastest growing app development company in Scotland. Kotikan was founded in 2007 and are currently located in Codebase, the UK’s largest technology incubator. Kotikan count Skyscanner and the Edinburgh Fringe amongst their clients.
The Enterprise Spirit Award recognises a student or staff member that demonstrates distinctive entrepreneurial spirit seeks to inspire their enable their peers to be more enterprising. This award went Christopher Sladdin, a student from the Business School and the founder of the Start-up Interviews.
Grant Wheeler, Head of Company Formation at Edinburgh Research and Innovation, commented on the awards:
“The entries we received for this year’s awards have been of an extremely high calibre and every finalist should be proud of getting this far. Not only that, but the numbers of entries submitted was a record high for our awards, and we had to select the twelve finalists from a shortlist of 59 nominees from 16 schools across the University – which only goes to highlight how fierce the competition has been this year.”