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Students shine in Santander Business Ideas Competition


Enterprising students at Bangor University have demonstrated their business skills in the first round of a national competition run by Santander.
Shem ap Geraint presents his Rocket Life Ring to the panelShem ap Geraint presents his Rocket Life Ring to the panelUndergraduate and postgraduates studying a wide range of subjects were tasked by the B-Enterprising team in the Careers & Employability Service to come up with an innovative business idea to pitch to a panel of judges including the University’s Vice-Chancellor Professor John G. Hughes.  The ideas presented to the panel included a life ring, inflatable stretcher, a guitar pick, location based gaming and a seat for festival goers.
Following the nine presentations, the judges awarded top prizes of £200 to the best undergraduate and postgraduate students as well as second and third place prizes of £100 and £50 to the runners-up in the undergraduate category.
The overall undergraduate winner, beating off stiff competition from four other entries was Shem ap Geraint, a BSc Product Design student. Shem’s design, the Rocket Life Ring is an updated version of the traditional life ring which can be thrown more accurately and much further. The Postgraduate category prize was awarded to Sonia Fizek for her Location Based Game idea.
Awarding the prizes to the winning entries, Vice-Chancellor Professor John G. Hughes said, “All the judges were impressed by the ideas and enthusiasm shown by the competition entrants. The quality of some of the business ideas was excellent there are some strong potential commercial products in development.  My intention is to make Bangor University one of the leading institutions in the country for innovation and entrepreneurship and from what I’ve seen of the business ideas presented to us, I’m confident we can achieve this.”
Postgraduate winner Sonia Fizek receives her prizePostgraduate winner Sonia Fizek receives her prizeUndergraduate winner Shem ap Geraint came up with his Rocket Life Ring following stints working in harbours and with the RNLI. Explaining why he chose to revamp the traditional life ring he said, “From past experience, I know that life rings no longer meet the specification needed, so I decided to design a product that can be thrown vastly further distances.  It has taken me ten months to develop the Rocket Life Ring and I have been working alongside a company that designs life vests.   It feels brilliant to win the competition. I now have to tweak my business plan for the next round and I’m going to continue to look for further funding for the product.”
Commenting on Shem’s winning idea, Professor Hughes said, “What’s great about Shem’s product is that it’s a simple idea which works extremely well, as Shem has investigated every aspect of the technology and the market for the product. We’re sure he’s on to a winner.”
Sonia Fizek from the School of Creative Studies and Media’s Location Based Gaming idea was commended by the judges, who awarded her first prize in the postgraduate category.
Professor Hughes said, “This is an excellent idea that is very topical as location based games are becoming increasingly popular.  Whilst it’s still early days for many of them, Sonia is certainly in a very lucrative market.”
The Vice-Chancellor presents Shem ap Geraint with his prizeThe Vice-Chancellor presents Shem ap Geraint with his prizeAlso awarded prizes for their business ideas were undergraduate second prize winners, team ‘Booster’ , who developed a seat for festival goers which carries advertising, and undergraduate third prize winner Samuel Clegg who has designed an inflatable stretcher.
Shem ap Geraint will now represent Bangor University in the national finals of the Santander Entrepreneurial Awards.

  • The judging panel comprised of Professor John G. Hughes, Vice-Chancellor; Sian Hope, Executive Director of Innovation; Professor Paul Spencer, Head of the College of Physical and Applied Sciences; Dr Andy Goodman, Design Director of Pontio and Chris Walker, Business Consultant for Venture Wales.

Publication date: 1 June 2011