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Elevate 2022 was the University of Exeter’s fourth year participating in the Engineers in Business Competition and was led by the Student Startups Team. The Elevate competition is a unique opportunity at the university for student engineers to access targeted early-stage venture creation support, exploring innovation beyond their curricular project-based learning. Students were supported by a dedicated member of the Student Startups team working specifically to engage students from Engineering degree programmes and enable them to explore entrepreneurship outside the lecture theatre.

This year’s competition saw five fantastic teams compete at the Elevate final. Students presented their business ideas in five-minute pitches to an expert panel, including a senior lecturer in Engineering Entrepreneurship, the Student Startups Programmes lead and guest panellist, Hersh Shah, Sainsbury Management Fellow and Board Member and Trustee of the Engineers in Business Fellowship.
First Prize Winner: You Inspect - Lewis Seale, 4th Year MEng Engineering and Entrepreneurship Student - £1,500 Engineers in Business Prize

You Inspect is a tool that allows insurers to monitor property flood resilience through an app that lets homeowners complete their inspections independently and relay this information back to their insurance provider.

Commenting on his achievement, Lewis said: "Entrepreneurship is a fine balance between having a good idea and believing in the idea, and knowing when your idea needs to adapt to fit new information you acquired. Working with the team and their wealth of experience in entrepreneurship in how to develop proposals has been invaluable in striking the right balance.  Keynote speakers revealing their experiences provides the students with the opportunity to learn from their mistakes and triumphs and help apply that to their own journey. It's been great working with the team to help drive forward the proposal and I will keep in contact with them moving forward.

"Over the next six months, I'm looking for seed funding from a large-scale investor to help build a team to drive forward the business.  I am looking to get into an accelerator programme. I am enrolling in training courses to help build my industry skills.”

Second Prize Winner: Fan{task}tic - Chun Kin Chan, Masters Student, Computer Engineering/JD (Juris Doctor) in Law (HKUST) and Ali Shamaz, BSc in Integrative Systems and Design - £1,000 Engineers in Business Prize

Fan{task}tic is a personalised learning platform which uses AI to personalise students' assignments, auto-grade and monitor progress.

Chun Kin Chan said, "We didn't have much business experience as highly technical engineers, but that didn't stop us from trying to bring our product concept to market. 

"We were pleased to be able to present our concepts to panels and receive valuable feedback as a result of this competition. The questions were difficult but very useful for us to reflect on what we are doing and why we are doing it, and we were so happy to see how the panel appreciated our effort in trying to make a change in the traditional education system, as well as give us a warm reminder of the potential risks we will face, which helps us to continuously prepare for what's coming next. We gained confidence as a result of the positive feedback and knowing that we were on the right track.

"What remains is to work even harder and implement the solution in order to begin making an impact. Hopefully, with the Elevate experience and the support of the community here, we can have a positive impact on education.”

Third Prize Winner: CLIPPTT - Charlie Wreglesworth-Rendell, 4th Year MEng Engineering and Entrepreneurship Student - £500 Engineers in Business Prize

CLIPPTT is a seamless way to integrate coaching and technique development into surfer's wave pool sessions, using high-quality video analysis of every wave.

Commenting on the learning experience Charlie said: "The Elevate programme has provided an excellent framework to develop the skills necessary to pitch in a competition like this.  The team has been fantastic in supporting the work being done on these propositions and has made the content really engaging.

"Over the next six months, I hope to continue working on developing my proposition and immersing myself in the market even more to gain experience and contacts. Working with this programme has introduced me to a new network of potential collaborators, as well as provided me with a place to test and receive feedback on my ideas."

Positive Feedback

The Elevate competition has yet again surpassed all my expectations, with students combining and showcasing both their engineering knowledge and 21st Century skills developed while studying at the University of Exeter.

At this year’s final, there seemed to be a huge push from our engineers in developing businesses that utilised artificial intelligence and machine learning to solve issues ranging from education to flood prevention; proving to the panel just how well-versed our engineering students are in showcasing their multi-disciplinary approaches to problem-solving. As an engineering lecturer, this was very refreshing to see and made me extremely proud of all applicants who took part this year.

As ever, the student start-up team proved itself to be not just an amazing resource for our students, but an inclusive and competitive community for entrepreneurs to thrive and relish in opportunities, both internally and externally.

I would also like to thank the investors and everyone else at the Engineers in Business Fellowship who make the EIB Prize Fund possible; this is the third year I've taken part in the Elevate competition at the University of Exeter, and together we have been able to create, foster and propel our student engineers startup ideas, ensuring that those winning companies are given working capital to develop their businesses further.

Ceri Howells, Panellist & Lecturer in Engineering & Entrepreneurship
University of Exeter