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Entrepreneurial students get backing to transform their businesses

  • 26 May 2014
Entrepreneurial students get backing to transform their businesses

Three entrepreneurial students at the University of Edinburgh have received SE/RSE Enterprise Fellowships to help them develop their businesses.

Three pioneering and diverse fledgling businesses created by alumni of the University of Edinburgh have been awarded prestigious SE/RSE Enterprise Fellowships to further aid their commercial development. 

The businesses - tackling issues facing women in developing countries who do not have effective ways to manage menstruation; an automated stats monitoring device allowing golf enthusiasts to track their performance without having to stop their games to manually enter information and a sound design tool which is already being used by the American film industry to create high quality ‘creature’ sounds in real time that saves production costs – are set to transform their respective industry sectors.

Business creators Liita-Iyaloo Naukushu, Orfeas Boteas and David Hunter will be funded for a year to work closely with both the University of Edinburgh and the Royal Society of Edinburgh (RSE). They will receive intensive training and support, access to networks of mentors and experts to help them achieve big goals.

Liita-Iyaloo Naukushu has ambitions to tackle issues facing women in developing countries who do not have effective ways to manage menstruation. Currently in Sub-Saharan Africa up to 20 per cent of a women’s education and working time can be interrupted by menstruation due to limited access to effective and affordable feminine hygiene products.

Liita-Iyaloo’s product will provide a new sustainable solution to women from developing countries replacing expensive or ineffective alternatives, allowing women to be empowered to work and attend education. Liita-Iyaloo hopes that the RSE Fellowship will enable her to make significant progress over the year resulting in a prototype that can be tested in the market and start engagement with stakeholders and community leaders in affected areas.

Liita-Iyaloo commented; “I am grateful to both RSE and The University of Edinburgh in awarding me this Fellowship. This enables me to focus my efforts on getting my business started. My ambitious goal is to enable every woman, no matter her economic, cultural, religious or geographic circumstances, to effectively and securely manage her menstruation.

The fellowship year is a great opportunity for me to build a strong foundation for my company, with the aspiration that it will eventually be a catalyst for increased product innovation in the global market for menstrual hygiene products.”

Both Orfeas Boteas and David Hunter also have big plans for their year too.

David Hunter hopes to get closer to grabbing his share of the £25 million UK golf market with his product, Shot Scope. Shot Scope is an automated stats monitoring device allowing golf enthusiasts to track their performance without having to stop their games to manually enter information.

Krotos Ltd, the company created by Orfeas Boteas is targeting the film and video game industry providing solutions that allow sound professionals to create high quality creature sounds in real time. This saves production companies thousands of hours which results in huge cash savings that help the bottom line. Unsurprisingly, take-up of the initial product, Dehumaniser, has been strong. Dehumaniser has been used by big international film and video game productions such as Fox’s Sleepy Hollow, Animal Planets Finding Bigfoot, 666 Park Avenue and the video game Evolve. Orfeas will be focusing on developing and launching further products in to the Krotos portfolio during his fellowship.

The University of Edinburgh has an illustrious history of supporting successful candidates through the RSE fellowship program. 2013 Fellow, Kanika Bansal used her time during her fellowship to develop IV Prev; a catheter sterilisation tool that effectively and innovatively kills 99.4 per cent of bacteria which could prevent infections that cost the NHS millions of pounds every year and can result in deaths for one in four of affected patients.

This device has the potential to save up to 70,000 patients each year in the UK. With the support of the University of Edinburgh and the RSE fellowship Kanika was able to accelerate her progress obtain a Smart Award worth £100,000 and bring on Ian Muirhead a successful serial entrepreneur with experience of taking medical devices to market as non-executive director.

Kanika commented; “I entered into this fellowship being a technologist and came out being an entrepreneur. This fellowship was a valuable contribution to my company and I would not have made the progress I’ve made as quickly without the support of the University of Edinburgh and the Enterprise Fellowship through RSE.”

The role of the Enterprise Fellowships programme is to enable researchers, graduates and people with technical skills to play a key role in launching successful growth businesses out of Scotland's science and technology base.

Edinburgh has a flourishing start-up scene of which the University of Edinburgh plays an integral role, having helped establish 300 new ventures in the past 15 years. The University supports an average of 35 start-ups per year through LAUNCH.ed, an award-winning information, advice and mentoring service established by Edinburgh Research and Innovation (ERI), the University’s commercialisation arm.

ERI delivers a comprehensive range of services to support entrepreneurial staff and students in establishing new enterprises that have the potential to become major players in their sectors as they grow and employ more staff.

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