20 November 2012
Last Thursday a team of UCL undergraduates including William Jones, Ali Tehrani and Bartlett's Edvard Nore successfully pitched to NACUE Innovation Fund. Their prize was a New Frontiers Award of an investment at the full amount of £8,000. This will be matched by UCL Advances. Their concept is to create an investment scheme for undergraduate students’ business ideas. The fund will go towards offering students micro and seed investments to test and build on their ideas. UCLe beat off competition from six other teams, with the Royal Agricultural College also being awarded an investment for their company “Muddy Wellies”.
The idea comes from the missing in UCL student enterprise, between the Ideas Drop In Sessions (where students come in with basic business ideas and get advice on how to proceed) and the UCL Bright Ideas Award which offers a share of £50,000 to its winners who already have fully formed business plans.
The new investment fund will give students the opportunity to produce a prototype, or build a minimum viable product, and validate their ideas before taking the next step and seeking further investment and business expertise from UCL Advances. UCLe hopes to actively support ten projects by undergraduate students over this academic year and aims to create three society led ventures. UCLe is already supporting a variety of student led ventures including Brainchild music festival, a fashion start-up by a student from Tanzania and a student wishing to start their own fashion show.
Commenting on the award, Edvard said: "Winning the New Frontier Award was an awesome validation of the work we’ve put into this idea. We’re now in a position to kickstart our concept, creating the first stepping stone between students’ ideas and building their own companies and careers from scratch.
We’re working on the challenges ahead, and have already had several meetings with students looking for small investments.. I'm also grateful to the Bartlett School of Planning who through the flexibility inherent in the Urban Studies course have allowed me to combine my course in urban planning with modules across UCL and as such gave me the basis to follow up this idea."
Congratulations to Edvard and his colleagues for this outstanding achievement.