An internet-based music production service and a firm designing sports products for canoeists are among the finalists for this year’s Sheffield Hallam University Enterprise Challenge.
Five students and recent graduates have reached the finals of the annual competition with its the £5,000 top prize for the most entrepreneurial business idea.
Quantity surveying student Ian McGinty is the man behind Playfonics, whose software enables people without a musical or technical background to make professional-standard music ready for publishing online.
Top slalom canoeist and sport development graduate Andrew Thomas and former international canoeist-turned ‘coach of the coaches’ Scott Bradley have set up Rapid Sports. aim of creating products that will improve an athlete’s performance.
Other finalists are Helen Palfreyman and Bernadette McAndrew of HB Dynamics; Jocelyn Hunter of Belmont Baby and Christopher Gowans of Let’s Go Mexicana.
Physiotherapy graduates Helen and Bernadette are developing innovative software, called Skelebob, designed to help companies boost productivity and minimise days lost due to ailments related to computer use.
Skelebob incorporates a posture reminder tool that encourages employees to manage their own health and well being and easy to follow desk based exercises.
Jocelyn recently completed a foundation degree in sustainable communities and has launched Belmont Baby to sell innovative products she has developed to make life easier for parents and babies such as an easy-to-use pram suit and fruit holder for weaning.
Business and enterprise management graduate Christopher Gowans is the brains behind Let’s Go Mexicana, a Mexican Food trailer, which trades predominantly at music festivals and other outdoor events.
Speakers at the awards event will include last year’s winner, Nathan Bestwick, who is part of Sheffield firm Gripple’s Incub programme, which nurtures local entrepreneurs.
Nathan has developed kitchen products that can be easily used by disabled people - including a spice mill that requires no gripping.
He said: “The opportunities that I’ve been given since winning the Enterprise Challenge have really given me the freedom to develop, prototype and test my products in the knowledge that I can take the next step to manufacture.
“It was that missing step that was prohibiting me from moving forward previously.”