One advantage the Innovation Award brings is membership of SETsquared, which is located at the University’s Innovation Centre in Bath. The SETsquared team helps budding entrepreneurs develop practical skills such as financial modelling, and unlock access to advisers. In 2018-19 five graduate entrepreneurs were supported by Innovation Awards and eight graduate businesses joined SETsquared.
Boosting student enterprise
Your gifts give our students the opportunity to develop the entrepreneurship skills that are highly coveted by companies.
In an increasingly competitive job market, Bath students have the edge. Your support gives them the confidence and ability to drive their own ideas forward.
One of these opportunities is Bath’s own Dragons’ Den. Here, students pitch their business concept for a start-up fund in front of the alumni ‘Dragons’, who have generously donated their time and money. “Student enterprise at Bath is buoyant,” says Mark Hawkesworth, who is on the panel. “The Dragons provide advice and use our donated funds to help students build prototypes, test markets and protect IP. It’s particularly rewarding for us to see ideas moving through to a start-up venture.”
Business Administration graduate Chris Hannaway benefitted from the experience while at Bath. In 2010, Chris and his friend saw a gap in the market for frozen yoghurt as an alternative to luxury ice cream. Their pitch was successful and they created Arctic Farm – a product so cool it was stocked in over 100 stores, including Sainsbury’s and Harrods.
An established entrepreneur, Chris has recently founded Infinite Session – an award-winning alcohol-free craft beer that’s available nationwide. “The opportunities I had at university were invaluable in helping me to build a network and refine my pitching skills,” he says. Chris has since returned to Bath to inspire the next generation at an enterprise showcase on campus.
Business Plan Competition: Alumni mentors pair up with students to help them develop a business plan to deliver to a panel of judges.
Apps Crunch: This team competition challenges students to design an app. In the past, winners have met with high-profile alumni entrepreneurs.
Dragons’ Den: Students pitch to alumni Dragons, who allocate their funds to promising ideas and provide valuable advice and encouragement.
Final-year students have the opportunity to compete for a £15,000 Innovation Award to develop their business, thanks to alumni support. “The grant I received gave me validation and security to take the leap and pursue my business idea full-time,” said 2019 Innovation Award winner, Nia Simpson, who is developing Compact Cane – the first discreet digital white cane for people with visual impairments.
Computer Science graduate Ashton Clapp took advantage of every opportunity that came his way, taking part in the Business Plan Competition and Apps Crunch before winning a coveted Innovation Award from fellow alumnus, His Excellency Khalil Foulathi. Ashton has since co-founded thriving tech consultancy Backslash Build in Bath, has employed nine fellow graduates and carries out coding workshops for current students from any year or course.