Talented young entrepreneurs were given an opportunity to shine at the final of the University of Gloucestershire’s annual BUG (Business Planning at the University of Gloucestershire) Competition (Wednesday 11 July).

Following a competitive pitch process, eight groups of finalists, vying for one of two top awards, were invited to join guests from the University and local businesses for the awards evening at the University of Gloucestershire Enterprise Awards, Park Campus in Cheltenham.

Roger Goodwin, a member of the University Alumni, scooped the first prize of £1000 in the ‘Open Award’ category with his business idea ‘RefShop.co.uk’. The RefShop provides referees with a one-stop shop for all their officiating kit and equipment. The award was open to all of the University’s students, staff and recent alumni who are in the process of starting their own business.

The Runner-up in this category and winner of £500 was Brendan Mackenzie, a second year Business Management student with his business concept ‘Your Opportunities Uncovered (Y.O.U.)’. Brendan is going into his industrial placement year to develop Y.O.U., a company that offers career and academic guidance to students over 15 years old.

The competition also awarded £500 to Melanie Holmes in the ‘Taught Award’ category which is open to students who have studied business planning as part of their degree course, creating a theoretical business idea. Melanie, a final year Sports Therapy student, impressed the judges with her Pet Paradise business plan. A dog kennel business, which aims to provide high quality accommodation with a luxury experience for both pet and competition dogs.

The annual BUG Competition aims to promote enterprise and innovation amongst University staff, students and alumni and encourage entrepreneurial thinking and business start-up.

Over 150 students have taken part in this year’s programme which includes business planning lectures, a series of interactive workshop and entrepreneur mentoring sessions.

Participants were asked to produce a 20 page business plan for a new business idea. The management teams of the best plans were then selected to deliver a 10 minute presentation on their business idea to the competition judges.

Dr Richard O’Doherty, Deputy Vice-Chancellor of the University added:
“It was a real pleasure to be able to meet all the finalists and to award trophies to the winners of the Business Planning (BUG) competition. There were some brilliant ideas for new business ventures and I am sure many of those finalists we celebrated last night will develop into successful entrepreneurs. The BUG competition is tangible evidence of the University of Gloucestershire’s commitment to work in partnership with the business community to develop entrepreneurial flair and employability skills in all our students. This is evidenced by our latest Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) statistics showing that the percentage of our graduates who are obtaining jobs or engaging in further study has increased yet again and continues to be above our benchmark.”

The competition was judged by Christine Boswell-Munday (CIM – Chartered Institute of Marketing), Scott Harvey (CMI – Chartered Management Institute), Emma Heathcote-James (Little Soap Company), Darren Hurst (NatWest), Oliver Newbold (Randall & Payne accountants), Steven Murray (Rickerbys solicitors) and Clive Kerridge (University of Gloucestershire Business School).

Preparations are underway for the 2012/13 programme. Anyone who has graduated from the University of Gloucestershire is eligible to take part, along with current University staff and students. More information is available by calling 01242 714104 or emailing [email protected]

The Programme is currently funded by the Higher Education Innovation Fund (HEIF) with support from Basepoint Business Centres, the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM), the Chartered Management Institute (CMI), Marketest online market research, NatWest, Randall & Payne Accountants and Rickerbys Solicitors.

Source: University of Gloucestershire