Finalists from Sheffield Hallam University’s annual challenge to find the next generation of entrepreneurs have shown their success was no flash in the pan.
Six months after the finals, six finalists are running their own businesses, two are on the verge of launching their own products and one has been shortlisted for a national award.
Winner Nathan Bestwick and runner up Lucy Nuttall have both been developing their ideas with the help of Incub, the innovations incubator set up by pioneering sister companies Gripple and Loadhog, based around their joint research facilities off Brightside Lane.
Meanwhile, third-placed Conrad Thornton’s business, Green Street Media, has been shortlisted in the Barclays Take One Small Step competition for young entrepreneurs.
Nathan came up with the idea of developing kitchen products that can be used by people who have problems using their hands, including a manually operated spice mill that doesn’t need to be gripped.
Lucy has set up Frontline Forensics, which aims to develop new techniques to replace outdated investigative products and procedures and is poised to launch a new product that will improve the quality of casts taken of boot and other imprints at scenes of crimes.
Conrad, meanwhile, has won a series of high profile clients for his eco-friendly, sustainable advertising business that puts adverts on pavements by blasting surface dirt away with high pressure washers through bespoke laser cut stencils.
Finalist Jessica Flinn has set up her own jewellery business and opened a workshop at CADS, the Creative Arts Development Space in Shalesmoor, run by another Sheffield Hallam graduate Steve Rimmer.
Other finalists Joanne Lowe and Pamela Edington are also running businesses, providing equality and diversity training and making music promos and documentaries.
Sheila Quairney, business and enterprise manager at Sheffield Hallam University, said the continued success of the finalists shows the credentials for the Enterprise Challenge, now welcoming applications in its 11th year.
She said: “It is really pleasing to know that all of the students who were shortlisted for last year’s Enterprise Challenge have not sat back on their success but instead used it as a launch pad to greater things.
“We help students to develop their businesses by mentoring and coaching them and giving them access to a range of start-up and incubation services.
“By providing these opportunities, we are equipping students with the business acumen to develop their careers after graduation.”
The finalists of the competition have all used the Enterprise Centre at the University help to guide them through the process of setting up in business. The Centre offers valuable free support and resources, including The Hatchery, a 24/7 business incubator, mentors and access to funding for activities such as market research or developing a prototype. This year’s Enterprise Challenge has now shortlisted 15 would-be businesses who are writing a full business plan.