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UK entrepreneurs set to impress on international stage

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The winners will travel to China to compete in the national finals

Budding entrepreneurs prepare to pitch their business ideas to investors in China

A group of budding entrepreneurs are preparing to pitch their business ideas to investors in China, after winning the UK stage of an international business competition organised by the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan).

The China Innovation and Entrepreneurship Competition, now in its eighth year, offers UK SMEs the opportunity to receive financial and commercial support to help establish a business in China.

A group of 16 UK finalists faced a panel of judges at the Impact Hub in Westminster, with entries scored on originality of idea, innovation and investable potential.

Six teams were shortlisted and will now travel to Shenzhen in China in August to compete in the country’s national finals with the hope of accessing a share of approximately £200 million in funding from the Shenzhen Municipal Government and private pledges.

Cambond Ltd, which has created a sustainable adhesive used in the manufacture of wood composite, was awarded the first prize of two return flights to Shenzhen and accommodation.

UCLan has well-established business and education links with China, and is committed to encouraging innovation and new business ventures in the UK and overseas, which is what this competition is all about.

CBS China, which developed the GasBlaster to help meet the demands of mining, quarrying and construction industries in China, and One Small Planet, which offers a technology transfer platform to manage IP assets, took joint second place. Both teams will receive a return flight and a contribution towards accommodation.

Three teams were awarded third place, with SEaB Energy Ltd, Clean Power Solutions and AptaCam each receiving one return flight to China.

The judging panel was made up of Richard Brooks, non-executive director at Praxis Unico, Mark Hedley, director of ICT for China Britain Business Council, Nick Burd, director of the Lancaster University China Catalyst Programme, Edward Holroyd Pearce, co-founder and director of CRCC Asia Ltd (London) and Darren Gowling, investment director at Co Angle Investment Service.

Claire Durkin, head of global, science education and innovation for the department for business, innovation and skills (BIS) and Sunan Jiang, Minister Counsellor for Science and Technology at the Chinese Embassy in the UK, addressed the finalists before the judging process began.

John Lonsdale, director of innovation and enterprise at UCLan said: “The competition was of an extremely high standard this year which was fantastic to see. UCLan has well-established business and education links with China, and is committed to encouraging innovation and new business ventures in the UK and overseas, which is what this competition is all about."

I’d like to wish the winners the best of luck as they prepare to represent the UK on an international stage and face what will no doubt be tough competition.

“I’d like to wish the winners the best of luck as they prepare to represent the UK on an international stage and face what will no doubt be tough competition.”

Shenzhen has an estimated population of 11 million, and was the first place in China to be granted ‘special economic zone’ status in 1980, following its transformation from a small town into a thriving business hub as part of the country’s bid to boost its economy.

UCLan’s work in China was recently recognised at the prestigious UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) Greater China Awards, where it was a finalist in the educational links category.

The UKTI awards acknowledge North West organisations which make significant contribution towards developing relationships with China, Taiwan or Hong Kong.

Press Office | 15 August 2016