Bangor’s Enterprise by Design students take entrepreneurship skills and innovative products to a ‘Dragon’s Den’

Winning team members: James Gudgeon, Psychology; Richard Sharman, Electronic Engineering & Computer Science; Tom Taylor, Product Design: Images by kind permission of Keith Lackie (a wedyn link i'w safle flicker) http://www.flickr.com/photos/light_to_sensor Winning team members: James Gudgeon, Psychology; Richard Sharman, Electronic Engineering & Computer Science; Tom Taylor, Product Design: Images by kind permission of Keith Lackie http://www.flickr.com/photos/light_to_sensor Forty Bangor University students have taken part in a competition to win up to £10,000 prize money to see the development of their own innovative product creations ready for market.

‘Enterprise by Design’ students were challenged to design a product from conception to prototype and to deliver a winning pitch to a judging panel.

Enterprise by Design, facilitated by Pontio Innovation, the B-Enterprising Project and academics from the schools of Electronic Engineering, Product Design, Law, Psychology, Business & Creative Studies & Media, involves undergraduate students from across the six specialist subject areas team up into multidisciplinary teams of four or five members. This year’s brief was set by DMM, a Llanberis based company that designs and manufactures recreational climbing and mountaineering equipment. DMM invited the teams to ‘propose a product concept for children of climbers’.

The judging panel consisted of David Noddings and Fred Hall from DMM, Pontio’s Head of Innovation and Deputy Vice Chancellor Professor David Shepherd Deputy, Phil Nelson Director of Surf-Lines, and Huw Watkins, Business Development Manager for BIC Innovation. The panel were also joined by a junior judging panel comprised of five children in the 7-14 year age range.

The winning ‘Team Carnation’ was awarded £5,000 to develop their concept - a Facebook App called Eryri. The app was designed as an online climbing tool, included a shared user experience with personalised content to record climbs, useful climbing safety information and an interactive and educational climbing video game.

Sebastian Hilton, Electronic Engineering & Computer Science; Leanne Forster, Psychology; Nawaf Aldabashi, Electronic Engineering & Computer Science with David Noddings, DMM and Prof David Shepherd : images by kind permission of Keith Lackie http://www.flickr.com/photos/light_to_sensorSebastian Hilton, Electronic Engineering & Computer Science; Leanne Forster, Psychology; Nawaf Aldabashi, Electronic Engineering & Computer Science with David Noddings, DMM and Prof David Shepherd : images by kind permission of Keith Lackie http://www.flickr.com/photos/light_to_sensorProfessor David Shepherd said: “The Enterprise by Design concept is fantastic as it brings out hidden skills in the students. I think they’re beginning to realise they can do things they never thought they could do. The level of creativity, thought, research, background and development of the presentations is tremendous and shows we have real talent in the University”.

Huw Watkins from BIC Innovation added: “Enterprise by Design is a great opportunity for students to understand all the elements involved in product design, understanding the marketplace, understanding what it takes to create a brand. It’s an excellent process for developing key business skills too.”

Dave Noddings of DMM said: “The development of students throughout this course is impressive. You can see from the final presentations how they have got a better understanding of what it takes to be in industry and take these projects into the real world. I’m impressed with the breadth of concepts, awesome presentations and innovative ideas.”

Pontio’s Dr Andy Goodman, Enterprise by Design Project Manager said: “This is exactly the sort of innovative practise that we hope to see more of through Pontio Innovation. The students discovered a whole new way of thinking by teaming up with students from different disciplines and working closely with industry experts. It is a great credit to the teams that the judges found narrowing the field down to just three winning products an extremely difficult task.

John Jackson, The Bangor Employability Award Manager said: “The benefits that the students can get from this are a hundred fold. In the future they’ll be going on to look for jobs and interviews and they’re going to have to present, utilising the skills they’ve learnt from here. These include presentation skills, the teamworking skills, commercial awareness and crucially, working with people from other departments.  I think Enterprise by Design is a crucial part to the Employability Award from the enterprise and entrepreneurial aspect as well.”

Eben Muse, Acting Head of Creative Studies & Media said: “The most important thing the students have been given is the opportunity to interact with other specialists, work as part of a team and to understand the relationship between all of these different and key parts of commercial business, from the concept to commercial development, the psychology behind the marketing, the business skills to work out, can we make a profit, can we survive on this product, the branding, they’ve had a really good snapshot and this will give them a really strong starting point to further their knowledge

Winning team members James Gudgeon from Psychology and Tom Taylor from Product Design said of their experience: “I think the main thing I’ve enjoyed is teamwork and working with students from the different disciplines. It’s been great” James Gudgeon

“I think it's been fantastic working with different professionals, different personalities, different strengths and bringing them together to build a product. You get a real buzz right before the presentation to bring what you've been working on over the last 8 weeks together. It’s been a really good competitive environment throughout the whole process and I just love it. It's just like industry.”Tom Taylor

Visit BangorTV for some film clips from the event.

Publication date: 29 March 2012