Student entrepreneurs pitch for prizes



The winners (L-R) with Dr Gillian Murray (ctr): Kieran Mooney, Joshua Taylor, Fraser Kirkman Dominique Larkin and Anneka Torrance, Selby Cary, Jonathan Watson, Gabriel Abraham, Tamer Cosgun, Annabel le Gall and Jonathan Powell from Santander Universities.

Santander Universities UK have awarded cash prizes to budding student entrepreneurs to help develop their ideas from Heriot-Watt's Edinburgh, Dubai and Malaysia campuses, as part of the Watt Ventures competition.

The Watt Ventures' Pitching & Awards Final was the culmination of a Heriot-Watt University and Santander Universities UK student ideas competition that launched in December last year.

The pitching event, held at Heriot-Watt's Edinburgh Campus, on 15 March, followed a series of interactive business skills sessions including a pitching workshop in January. The high adrenaline one minute pitches showcased the top twelve shortlisted ideas in the competition.

Open to undergraduate and postgraduate students from all five international campuses, Watt Ventures looks for budding entrepreneurs from the University to submit their ideas for a chance to win cash prizes and business support!

The competition received a variety of ideas ranging from a project called Mr Convenient's which is all about “arranging your life laundry” to a Virtual Language Tool. Ideas came from across a range of University schools.

Each Edinburgh finalist was given the nerve-wracking task of pitching their idea live in just 60-seconds to a panel of esteemed judges: Dr Gillian Murray, Deputy Principal Enterprise and Business, Heriot-Watt University; Mr Derek Pattle, Experienced Businessman and Mentor; Professor Laura Galloway, Professor of Business and Enterprise, Edinburgh Business School, Heriot-Watt University; and Jonathan Powell, University Regional Manager, Santander Universities UK.

So many of our graduates are leaders in ideas and in providing creative solutions to societal challenges

Dr Gillian Murray

On awarding the prizes to the winners, Dr Gillian Murray, Deputy Principal Enterprise and Business, remarked: “So many of our graduates are leaders in ideas and in providing creative solutions to societal challenges. Watt Ventures in partnership with Santander Universities UK is one of the many ways we seek to develop the next generation of entrepreneurs here at Heriot-Watt University.”

The Watt Ventures 2017 competition category winners are:
Most Innovative Idea - Joy Davidson Golla with their project Hydrobelt (Dubai campus) The idea is for a PFD (Personal Flotation Device) in the form of a wearable belt which inflates and forms a ring under the users arms to save them from drowning when in water.

Best Individual Idea - Gabriel Abraham with Virtual Language Tool (Edinburgh campus) This is an immersive virtual reality language learning aid, which will stimulate the conditions needed for a user to learn a language of their choice.

Country Prize Dubai - Mahjabeen Shahid: Mr Convenient (Dubai) The aim is to connect users with a range of professional services that include Cleaners, Plumbers, Electricians, Locksmith and Dog walkers. The mission at Mr. Convenient is simple; Connect the world to services and offer solutions with a click of a button.

Country Prize Scotland - Jonathan Watson with Street Change (Edinburgh campus) The project is using the power of technology and human relationships to fight urban poverty and homelessness.

Best Web-Based Idea - Jonathan Watson with Street Change (Edinburgh campus)

Best Team Idea - Art Vant Guard; Fraser Kirkman, Kieran Mooney, Joshua Taylor, Dominique Larkin and Anneka Torrance (Edinburgh campus) Art-Vant Garde is an intermediary business providing a valuable service that enables student artists studying at Scottish art schools and colleges to sell their artwork across the UK.

Additionally, because of the high calibre of finalists, the judges felt they wanted to award two NEW prizes - the opportunity of accessing mentoring support from Santander Universities. Selby Cary and Tamer Cosgun with their project Heliwheel and Annabel le Gall with Textile Scanner were the lucky recipients. They have been invited to meet Santander their Head Office to develop their ideas further.