Over 150 guests attended the University’s Enterprise Showcase on Thursday 16 March 2017, hosted by nest (part of the Department of Employability). It was an inspiring evening which confirmed the depth of entrepreneurial talent within the University’s students, graduates and staff.
‘Startups to Watch’ – a packed exhibition of Portsmouth’s student and alumni businesses – opened the Showcase and gave young entrepreneurs the chance to share their startup experiences in industries which included fashion, web development, food, games design, and specialist travel services. Impressing guests with their enthusiasm, inventiveness and drive, the startups included students who are running their businesses alongside their studies, students on a year-long Self-Employment Placement (SEP) supported by the University’s nest team and placement offices, as well as recent University of Portsmouth graduates.
Eight students, graduates and staff were recognised during the awards ceremony for their contribution to entrepreneurship. They all reflected the crucial role an enterprising mindset plays in developing successful enterprises.
The winner of the Student and Graduate Startup of the Year Award was The Maker’s Guild founded by Ming Wu, Sam Asiri and Gavin Hodson. The Maker’s Guild will provide the opportunity to develop skills and ideas to make, innovate and collaborate within a space that facilitates making and sharing as part of a creative community. Based in the Portsmouth Guildhall, the space will be Portsmouth’s first makerspace, giving everyone the opportunity to make almost anything with the equipment provided.
On the night Ming said ‘It’s fantastic to have won this award. Two years’ worth of work has led to this moment, and it feels great to have this recognition for what we are trying to do here. The prize package will be a huge help for us too, we’ve done everything so far on a really small budget, so support like this is invaluable to us.’
Being awarded Startup of the Year has earned The Maker’s Guild business support worth over £1200, generously donated by local companies Addo Accounting, Warner Goodman LLP, Little Kanga, Uber, Santander as well as design services from 99designs.
Other award winners were:
● Route to Startup Standout Student – William Davies
● Self-Employment Placement Standout Student – Valentin Mangu , Ace Dot Services
● Social Startup Award – Holly Farmer
● Enterprise Educators Award – Penny Hart
● Student and Graduate Entrepreneurial Spirit of the Year – Aslak Butler
● Staff Entrepreneurial Spirit of the Year – Susan Noble
● Alumni Recognition Award – Nathan Cable
Full details of the winners and nominees can be found on the nest website.
The Alumni Recognition Award went to Nathan Cable, a 2011 graduate of the Portsmouth Business School and co-founder of Party Hard Travel.
Party Hard Travel was set up by Nathan and Barry Moore (Portsmouth accounting graduate) and enables guests to have the best possible experiences on holiday by including all of the biggest parties and events with all holiday bookings, this is a revolutionary way to book party holidays. Party Hard Travel are now entering their third year of trading – they have had great successes to date and are on track to reach their goal of becoming the market leader in party travel by 2020. Notably in 2016 Nathan was named one of Travel Trade Gazette’s (TTG) top 30’s under 30 in the travel industry as part of their highly competitive Tomorrow’s Travel Leaders initiative.
Having received his award, Nathan delivered a powerful keynote speech, sharing his startup journey through a series of photos and passed on some key advice to our future entrepreneurs. He touched on the values of his company noting innovation, positivity, mutuality, quality and passion as being key to everything they do.
‘Tonight was a fantastic way for us to recognise and celebrate the entrepreneurial talent we have not only at the University but in the City as well. Seeing and hearing all of the exciting ventures our student, graduates and staff are initiating is inspiring, they definitely are not short of great ideas or ambition’, says Carley Hawkins, co-host of the event.
Co-host of the event, Lynda Povey, explains: ‘Whilst supporting the students and graduates we work with, we really do watch them develop their own ideas and grow in their self-belief, with great pride. Seeing them showcase their ventures and win awards is testament to their determination and hard work and all their efforts deserve to be celebrated.’
The next generation of young entrepreneurs are already at work in the University’s start-up incubator ‘nest’ and will be on show this time next year. The incubator supports University of Portsmouth students and recent graduates to develop their enterprise interests and talents, and to start commercial businesses and social enterprises. Support includes one-to-one coaching, specialist start-up programmes and workshops, expert presentations, business funding advice and networking opportunities. Services are free to all University of Portsmouth students and alumni who have graduated in the last five years.
Whether you are a Portsmouth student, graduate or a local business that would like to get involved with supporting the next generation of entrepreneurs, you can find out more about the University’s student enterprise activities by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or taking a closer look at www.nest.community.
A full list of the Startups to Watch and awards is available here.
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