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Second Year Engineering Module - ENGR205 Business Development Project: The module covers a range of material in student entrepreneurship, innovation, idea information including generation, business planning, marketing, presenting and pitching, using tools such as the Business Model Canvas, and various external and industrial speakers to supplement and reinforce the taught theory.

In groups, students work on weekly tasks and feedback to the full class each week. The assessment panel (for Business Presentations) is made up of well-respected industrialists from companies, innovation training providers and a nominated representative from the Board of the Greater Manchester Local Enterprise Partnership, an international academic (in recent years: Akdeniz University, Turkey; Sydney Business School, University of Wollongong, Australia) as well as a representative of the student enterprise support function on campus.
Winner: Quench Team - Alexander Cochrane, BEng (Hons) Electrical and Electronic Engineering; Olivia Albrecht, Benoit Ferrand, Jaidhish Passary, Kelvin Southwell, BEng (Hons) Mechanical Engineering; Jack Bentley, Alex McGrath, MEng (Hons) Chemical Engineering; Nathan Lee, Daniel Williamson, MEng (Hons) Mechanical Engineering; Ahmed Negm, MEng (Hons) Mechatronic Engineering - £1,750 Engineers in Business Prize

One in ten of people asked by a crime survey confessed to having a drink spiked. How can you have an exciting and safe night out constantly watching your back? Quench, started by ten engineering students, has created the QuenchCup – a disposable plastic cup which changes colour, alerting users of drugs and excess alcohol in their drink.

The product is made from the same recyclable plastic as a usual cup with the addition of a reactive layer, which turns the bottom segment of the cup vivid red in the presence of drugs, and a colour-changing band to monitor alcohol concentration.

Quench will form personal relationships with clients; first working with universities to build its reputation before meeting the high demands of clubs and festivals. The company ethos is built on raising awareness so clients will be offered attractive posters to engage partygoers with the product. The product will also be sold in retail stores, with plans to develop a non-disposable cup and host awareness events.

The UK uses seven million disposable cups every day, so even a small proportion of the market will be hugely profitable. The QuenchCup business model beats its competitors by focusing on driving costs down to produce an inexpensive product in high volume. Competing products such as Smart Straws fail to appeal to the mass market, demanding clients to buy new products rather than offering a safer alternative to something they are already buying.
Second Place Winner: Matt Knox, Ashwin Abu, Jack Owens, Nikhil Widdows, Shaunak Dubhashi, BEng (Hons) Mechanical Engineering; Peter Mansfield, BEng (Hons) Mechatronic Engineering; Matthew Payet, Tom Byrne, MEng (Hons) Chemical Engineering; Lenny Dimbungu, MEng (Hons) Electrical and Electronic Engineering; Joely Side, MEng (Hons) Mechanical Engineering - £750 Engineers in Business Prize

BuddyUp is an online sports application that will allow people to connect and meet for sporting activities. This provides companionship as well as helping to find that necessary second person to allow someone to play the sport, eg tennis. The application and website will match people depending on the sport they want to play, their ability level in that sport and the age and gender of those they would like to play against, should this be specified.
The application provides a suggestion of people matching the criteria and opens a messenger chat between the two people, so they can organise a time and place to meet. This will be particularly good for people who are in a new town and want to play a sport like tennis or go rock climbing which require a second person to play against or belay with at a similar ability level, without the intimidation of going straight to a club.

Initially a user would create a profile, with a small description of themselves, an image and a home location eg their town if they don’t want their location shown with locational services, then select preferences for who they would like to carry out activity with, such as age and gender. For reasons of safety the application will have an 18+ age limit. They will then select the sports they participate in or would like to try and their ability level within that sport, for example; beginner, intermediate, advanced. Whenever they want to meet someone to take part in an activity with, they will choose a location and sport, and then they will be identified with others of the same criteria in the area.
Third Place Winner: TechTest - Tobi Akinola, Fahid Talukdar, BEng (Hons) Chemical Engineering; Jack Whitmore, BEng (Hons) Electrical and Electronic Engineering; Sam Reed, BEng (Hons) Mechanical Engineering; Jarred Minards, BEng (Hons) Nuclear Engineering; Aleks Huddy, MEng (Hons) Chemical Engineering; Matt McDonnell; Matthew Hayes; Matthew Tomlinson; Fen Bleasdale, MEng (Hons) Mechanical Engineering - £500 Engineers in Business Prize

TechTest developed a technology trial service whereby users can have a short loan period of a new piece of technology hardware prior to committing to purchase their own.

TechTest will send customers the phones that they request. The customer will use the phones for a period of a week to get a feel of how the operating systems work and how the different phones feel; they then decide which phone they would like to buy (if any) and they are offered a discount if they choose to buy the phone through TechTest.

The target market would be those who are keen to keep up with the technological advancements and simultaneously want the device that is best suited to their needs.

Positive Feedback

Undergraduate Engineering students naturally shy away from business and management type modules, preferring the more numerate and technical subjects, however, this particular module, which embeds entrepreneurship and innovation within the curriculum, has gained in popularity in recent years.

Having taught this module for a number of years, and seeing the diverse range of ideas and skills that the students work hard to develop, skills that they will find invaluable as they progress towards careers as professional engineers, I was keen to provide an opportunity to take these ideas beyond just an academic exercise.

We were pleased that the Engineers in Business Fellowship also saw the potential in this module, and awarded £3,000 to invest in some of the best business ideas that emerged from the student teams. Real money, to do real things.

Dr Allan Rennie, Senior Lecturer at Lancaster University’s Engineering Department