Three student entrepreneurs in competition final

Three out of five finalists in a competition to find the best young entrepreneurial talent are students from the University of Portsmouth. The prize for the winner is a fund worth up to £50,000 of business products and services.

The Young Startup Talent Competition is aimed at students aged 16-25 who have a business idea they want to develop. The initiative promotes innovation, entrepreneurship, leadership and talent development. The competition is broken into regions and in the Solent region the University has claim to three finalists.

Finalists - left to right - John Wheal, Casper Nielson, Harry Phelan, Calvin Macleod and Ming Wu

Finalists – left to right – John Wheal, Casper Nielson, Harry Phelan, Calvin Macleod and Ming Wu

Ming Wu, currently studying the MRes Technology, is developing a suite of wearable technology with a fashionable twist under his company, UU-U Design. In the future he hopes to take wearable technology to the next level, monitoring biomedical information such as heart health and blood pressure.

While studying, Ming has been developing his plans from his base in Innovation Space, a University of Portsmouth owned and managed Enterprise Centre where he and his fellow finalist, John Wheal would bounce ideas off each other. He said: “Everyone in the centre was working on something so the atmosphere was one of motivation and inspiration.”

John Wheal graduated from the MEng Computer Engineering course this year. He has developed an online space that helps to simplify the management and organisation of groups, clubs and societies. He said: “The feedback during the process has been invaluable and has prepared me for pitching my business in now and in the future.”

Calvin Macleod, who graduated from the BSc Computing course this year, has launched Life Beacon, a mobile base application that provides tools for users and patients to manage their medical health by providing reminders, calendars, notes, prescriptions and a day-to-day diary. He said: “I’ve found the whole experience invaluable. In fact, it’s because of this process that I recently secured a job in business development!”

All three students are from the Faculty of Technology and have received support and advice from the University’s student enterprise team who hosted a workshop with Young Startup Talent in March.

To reach the final the candidates worked their way through different business workshops, as well as a speed-networking event, which involved local business professionals grilling and feeding back their worldly wisdom and expertise to the young entrepreneurs on their business ideas. In September the final five candidates pitched their refined business plans at the Ocean Village Innovation Centre Southampton, to a panel of judges in a ‘Dragon’s Den’ style event.

The results will be announced tomorrow and the winner will secure a prize fund worth up to £50k worth of business products and services. The prize fund is donated by sponsors and local businesses to help ensure the lucky winner will have all the assistance they need to kick-start their new business.

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