Loughborough University London Crowns ‘The London Entrepreneurs’ Challenge Champions 2018

Monday 4th June 2018 marked the final of Loughborough University London’s £3k Entrepreneur Challenge (E-Challenge) 2018.

This year’s E-Challenge saw students from Loughborough’s two campuses deliver their final pitches to a panel of academics, investment fund holders and student start-up experts. The final took place in one of London’s largest Innovation Centres Plexal,  saw 21 teams battle it out for their share of a £3,000 prize fund.

Entrepreneurship and Innovation Management MSc students, Zamira Abbasova and Andrea Hitti, walked away with the first prize of a £2,000 equity free investment in their start-up idea ‘Project Herbology’ a tea business that looks to improve the health of those that drink it.  Zamira said “Andrea and I just cannot believe this.  The preparation, guidance and coaching we have received as part of the E-Challenge has been amazing.  It has been an outstanding experience.” 

Second prize went to Diplomacy, Business and Trade MSc student, Christina Akintoye, who scooped up a £1,000 investment into her business, Honey’s Skincare.  Christina is a veteran of Loughborough University London pitching competitions, having won the VentureCrawl pitch off earlier this year.  Alongside the guidance Christina received from the E-Challenge her business is one of those currently being supported by The Studio – Loughborough University’s business incubator.

Highly commended mentions went to Sport Business and Leadership MSc student, Ruilin Ma, for her innovative platform ‘Pride’ which connects elite youth athletes with educational support and Miles Singleton for his green crowdfunding and community building app ‘Atvine’.

As well as the prize money, all four winning teams will be shortlisted for a highly competitive place on the London-based accelerator programme: Fast Forward London which offers 6 weeks of support and is delivered on the Loughborough University London campus.

The all-female judging panel was made up of previous winners of the E-Challenge, academics from Loughborough University London, investment fund holders and student start-up experts.

The all-female judging panel consisted of:

Sumaï Bertrand, a Loughborough University London alumna, and last year’s E-Challenge winner, said

“Taking part in last year’s E-Challenge taught me so much about the innovation process and the practical support you need to launch a start-up.  The quality of this year’s applicants was really high, it was a pleasure to be part of the panel tonight.” 

Holly Knower, CEO of NACUE and another of the judges on the night added

“Considering this is a single university competition – the quality of the pitches was really strong.  All of us remarked that it was so refreshing that the judging panel was all women.  Just another sign of what a forward-thinking University Loughborough is.”

Ben Cole, Loughborough University London’s Stakeholder Development Manager and one of the organisers of the E-Challenge, said

“our campus in London is already so connected to the entrepreneurial eco-system in London.  Tonight’s competition shows that we are building credible start-up teams that really understand what it takes to have the discipline and determination to be an entrepreneur.  It’s great that we have such support available for all of our students and brilliant to share in their success this evening.”

For more information about the E Challenge contact Ben Cole b.p.cole@lboro.ac.uk

Loughborough is one of the country’s leading universities, with an international reputation for research that matters, excellence in teaching, strong links with industry, and unrivalled achievement in sport and its underpinning academic disciplines. 

It has been awarded five stars in the independent QS Stars university rating scheme, named the best university in the world for sports-related subjects in the 2018 QS World University Rankings, top in the country for its student experience in the 2018 THE Student Experience Survey and named University of the Year in the Whatuni Student Choice Awards 2018. 

Loughborough is in the top 10 of every national league table, being ranked 6th in the Guardian University League Table 2018, 7th in the Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2018 and 7th in The UK Complete University Guide 2019. It was also named Sports University of the Year by The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2017. 

The University has been awarded a Gold rating in the Teaching Excellence Framework, which recognises institutions that deliver consistently outstanding teaching that is of the highest quality found in the UK. 

The Loughborough University London campus is based on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and offers postgraduate and executive-level education, as well as research and enterprise opportunities. It is home to influential thought leaders, pioneering researchers and creative innovators who provide students with the highest quality of teaching and the very latest in modern thinking. 

The seven specialist institutes at Loughborough University London include: Design Innovation, Digital Technologies, Diplomacy and International Governance, Innovation and Entrepreneurship, International Management, Media and Creative Industries, and Sport Business. Close industry partnerships with a wealth of leading businesses and creative organisations means teaching and learning is informed by real-life challenges and driven by true industry pressures.

A group of people smiling at an event From Left to right: Dr. Ida Telalbasic - Institute for Design Innovation Flavia Richardson – Portfolio Manager for London Co-Investment Fund Sumaï Bertrand – Loughborough University London Alumna and winner of 2017 E-Challenge Zamira Abbasova – Current Entrepreneurship and Innovation Management student and part of the winning team ‘Project Herbology’ with Andrea Hitti Julia Rabin – Programme Manager at Capital Enterprise Holly Knower – CEO of NACUE