On 26 October 2020 we hosted a thrilling Engineers in Business Champion of Champions Final when 10 university teams comprising engineering graduates and postgraduates pitched brilliant business innovations in the hope of winning a share of the £10,000 EIBC prize fund. The Awards Presentation was hosted by Engineer and TV Presenter Kate Bellingham, who superbly guided contestants through the spotlight of the live online show.
With many participants separated geographically from their team members, they came together seamlessly online. The teams did a tremendous job, pitching their ideas and answering challenging questions from the four judges. After a nail-biting wait for the results, the winners were revealed to the delight of everyone. They are:
Start-up Business – First Prize Winner: PETexe, University of Exeter for the creation of a smart filter that will prevent plastic fibres that shed from synthetic clothing in washing machines from entering water systems.
Start-up Business – Runner-up: Inpulse, University of Southampton. Devon Lewis has created smart clothing that increases strength and corrects muscle imbalances for use in both healthcare and sports sectors.
Big Ideas Business – First Prize Winner: SimSurgeon, University of Surrey for the development of software that can be used for virtual reality training of surgeons and medical professionals.
Big Ideas Business – Runner-up: BioSmart, University of Exeter. This project works with remote rural communities to make and sell sustainable biofuel.
Highly Commended: WeAlign, Imperial College London for the creation of games for people with balance problems caused by inner ear and brain problems. The games are exercises which help restore balance.
People’s Vote Winner (pre-show vote): SeedSense, University of Sheffield for the creation of autonomous robots to monitor soil and plant conditions.
Audience Vote (live show vote): SimSurgeon, University of Surrey - First prize winner in the Big Ideas Business category, SimSurgeon also won the Audience Vote.
This year the EIBC Champion of Champions prizes were structured in two categories – Start-ups and Big Ideas. This allowed prizes to be awarded to winners depending on what stage they are with their innovation. The Start-up prizes were awarded to those who are more advanced with their innovations and want to take them to the next level. The Big Ideas prizes were awarded to those winners whose ideas are at an earlier, conceptual or research stage.
The first prize winners, PETexe and SimSurgeon were awarded £3,000 each, and Inpulse and BioSmart were awarded £1,500 each. WeAlign, which was Highly Commended, will receive a trophy, as will the other winners. The winners of the People' Vote, SeedSense won £500, as did SimSurgeon which won the Audience Vote. The two first prize winners, will also be mentored by a Sainsbury Management Fellow. Winning an Engineers in Business Champion of Champions award not only celebrates students’ ingenuity, the cash prizes provide funding to help them further develop their innovations.
Head Judge, Sainsbury Management Fellow, Henning von Spreckelsen, a Director and Investor in Plastecowood said: “The 10 finalists were selected from a larger group of entrants into the Champions of Champions final earlier this year. The standard of all the entries was so incredibly high that it was hard enough selectiing the finalists, let alone the Champions! It was a privilege to judge such a diverse and inspiring range of ideas from talented young people who are looking to solve real problems in society. All the competitors in this year’s final were outstanding and tribute must also go to their professors and enterprise managers who are spearheading innovation education within universities.”
Congratulations to all our Engineers in Business Champion of Champions 2020 - we wish them well as they go on to develop their ideas. A huge round of applause to all finalists who participated in the competition with such gusto!
EIBF wishes to express its thanks and appreciation to sponsors of the Engineers in Business Competition: Purple CV is providing personal CV packages, CUP (Cambridge University Press) is providing copies of the publication Digital Innovation and Entrepreneurship, IPSE (Association of Independent and Self Employed) is providing business support packages and CABS (Chartered Association of Business Schools) is a long term supporter of Engineers in Business Fellowship and helps to spread the word about the Engineers in Business Competition.
The Awards Presentation show can be viewed at here.