Competition winners of Lord Paul Fund get revved up for engineering success
Nine University of Wolverhampton student entrepreneurs have been gifted with a cash prize and bespoke support to help develop their fledgling businesses after the winners of the Lord Swraj Paul Gift Fund 2021 were announced recently.
The Lord Paul Award forms a legacy gift donated to the University by its Chancellor, Lord Paul via the Ambika Paul Foundation. It is the first and largest activity under the banner of “supporting student entrepreneurial initiatives” delivered by the University’s Enterprise Department, with further initiatives planned for 2022 and 2023.
As part of the application process, students had to submit a 90 second video pitch. From the 49 submissions received, the applications were whittled down to the final nine who attended two business pitching workshops in May, in readiness for their final live pitch to the judging panel in June.
The prizes were a headline award of £10,000, two awards of £5,000 with six businesses receiving £1,000. As well as the cash prizes, the finalists are set to receive five hours of specialist business consultancy to help them progress their business idea further.
The headline prize was awarded to a group of students who have formed an engineering company, Motorsport 3D, specialising in Rapid Prototyping, reverse engineering and bespoke computer-aided design for the motorsport and automotive industry.
The final year students, Reuben Inganni, Ethan Campbell, Mataeo Pearce and Jack Sutterby, the owner and Co-Directors of Motorsport 3D, who are studying for the University’s Motorsport Engineering degree in the School of Engineering, impressed the panel with their clear business plan, market analysis and confidence in their ability to become a market leader in the niche, high growth and high-tech industry. Showing excellent teamwork, they were unanimous winners.
Reuben Inganni, owner of Motorsport 3D, said: “We are super excited and thankful to be given this fantastic opportunity and the money will really help us to expand our company. The fund will allow us to print projects in house using our own 3D printers and scanners, creating demand for our services and giving our customers more flexibility.
“It will also allow us to gain CAD licensing and will be used to create a website as well as providing team wear – all which are essential to customer service and business image.
“This was a fantastic opportunity to pitch our ideas to experts in industry in a professional manner, we really feel that this has given us the confidence to push on with our ideas. We think that the Lord Paul Fund is a great opportunity to help develop any small businesses and would highly recommend it to future start-ups.”
Lord Paul, Chancellor at the University, said: “It’s wonderful to see students engaging with business ideas so early in their careers. The University is proud of the opportunities it offers to students in terms of preparing them for the world of work and enterprise is key to building back better communities following the pandemic.
“I’m very proud for this funding to have been the catalyst to further progress ideas for these amazing emerging businesses and am looking forward to seeing what benefits they bring in the long-term.”
Simon Brandwood, Head of Enterprise, Careers and The Workplace at the University, said: “We were absolutely delighted to announce the winners of this unique competition and we’re really excited to see the ideas that our enterprising students are developing.
“The cash boost for the winners will have an extraordinary impact on the businesses they are developing and their future careers.”
The two winners of the £5,000 prizes were ‘Ivy Rose Interiors’ Interior design consultancy service, run by Rebecca Lewis-Knight, an Interior Design degree student, and ‘Pack of Punch Ltd’, makers of ready to drink cocktails and mocktails, run by Cherise Dixon, a Biomedical Science degree student.
Sarah Taylor, Head of Careers & Enterprise at the University of Wolverhampton, acted as Chair of the final Judging Panel. Sarah said: “Rebecca showed an understanding of the emotional and physical effect that can be achieved by creating the right form and environments. Using her life experience, Rebecca is determined to make a difference, through designing interiors that are both thoughtful and scientifically beneficial to those who use them. She showed the personal qualities which convinced us she will succeed in making an impact.”
Rebecca says: “I love to create immersive, healthy spaces that elicit positive emotional well-being and influence joyful behaviours. I love nothing more than collaborating with others as part of a team to design spaces that meet the needs of the client and are highly focused on the end-user experience holistically.
“This wonderful prize will allow me to grow my business in many ways but, in particular, to purchase software licences allowing me to create industry standard architectural drawings. It will also allow me to collaborate with other designers and outsource some time-consuming design tasks as well as growing my team. This will free up my time to seek out and court speculative clients.
“I intend to purchase IT hardware including a high-quality printer, which can be used for client consultations, to easily share visuals and design proposals. I will invest some of the money into marketing, including flyers, business cards, and paid-for local advertising. I have sought out additional training to develop my marketing strategy and would like to be able to pay for professional web development and Customer Relationship Management. I will be able to purchase materials for my bespoke products, expanding the services I can offer my clients.”
Having benefitted from the support offered through the University, Rebecca now intends to give back, by outsourcing supplementary work to students, giving them the opportunity to work on live projects, building their confidence, self-belief and networking opportunities in return.
Cherise Dixon, Director of Pack of Punch Ltd, said being a recipient of one of the runners up awards has really accelerated the development of her business. “The funds will very much help me to get off the ground and begin to trade.
“The money will allow me to buy equipment for the production of my product, purchase the correct licenses to be able to trade and also will allow me to set up ‘pop-up events to get the company’s name out there. I believe it has given me an opportunity to really build my business into something bigger than I expected.
“Also, just receiving the email about signing up for The Lord Swraj Paul Fund has opened up a whole new world of support available from the University of Wolverhampton that I was not aware of before so that is something, I am also thankful for!
“At first, I was hesitant in applying as I am a naturally shy and anxious person. However, I have a lot of confidence in my business idea and in the scalability of my business idea, so I went for it and uploaded a video to YouTube. I was absolutely shocked when I heard that I was moving onto the next stage which was pitching for 5 minutes to very professional sounding individuals, as you can imagine this was absolutely daunting to me. I did build my confidence, however, in my 1-1 sessions with Ginger my consultant for preparing my pitch. I felt her feedback really pointed me in the right direction and gave me an idea of what the panel were looking for. This is something I really liked as well about the process. We were given 1-1s with a knowledgeable person, because if like me you don’t have any background in business you can kind of draw a blank when it comes to figuring out what is important and what isn’t.
“Overall, the application process was great and really has encouraged me to step out of my comfort zone.”
Follow Packofpunch on Instagram which is set to launch at the end of July.
The winners of the £1,000 prizes:
Reach and Unite Outreach and Empowerment CIC
Kangaroo Learning Ltd
Chris Day Glass and Ceramic Artist
If you are a student or recent graduate interested in being your own boss, or are already the owner of an early- stage start-up and would like to benefit from specialist business development support, why not contact email@example.com or visit wlv.ac.uk/SPEED to find out more.
For anyone who already has the results of their qualifications, applications can be made through Clearing from Monday 5 July. Our Clearing webpage provides further information on all the courses we have available in Clearing. Applications can be made either by calling our Clearing Team on 01902 51 8585 or through our social media channels on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.
For anyone who is awaiting the results of their qualifications, they can register their interest and book a phone call with a Clearing Adviser on results day, Tuesday, 10 August.
Anyone looking to study at the University of Wolverhampton should register for one of our forthcoming Open Days.
For more information please contact the Corporate Communications Team.