05 March 2014
Digitally savvy undergraduates win big in regional heats and head to London to represent the North West at a national Young Enterprise competition
UCLan’s Digitise-It team, pictured with Tim Scott of DWF, won the North West Start-Up Final of Young Enterprise.
Digital media savvy students from the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) have seen off competition from hundreds of other North West students to win through to the National Final of the Young Enterprise Start-Up competition.
Digitise-It, who won both the Overall Winner Award and the Pingit Award, will now go up against 10 student companies from across the UK after taking part in the Young Enterprise scheme to set up their own business for a year with the help of business mentors.
The 11 students impressed judges with their SME support focussed business, providing clients with innovative presentations to enable effective delivery of their messages. They are now expanding into developing their own presentation software.
“We’ve investigated the market thoroughly, got advice from the business team at UCLan’s Northern Lights department and enjoyed working closely with a great client."
Joint Team Leader Lee Rollinson, from Burnley, said: “We were very shocked and excited to be announced as the winner for the North West region. It was a very pleasant surprise to be picked as the best entry because we knew we were up against some very strong competition.”
The final year students, who are currently studying on a range of television and media production, web and multimedia and journalism courses at the Preston campus, have worked with Steve McClean at Safety Management Consultancy to create innovative training presentations.
“It’s a great reward for all the effort and long hours we’ve put into this project,” said fellow Joint Team Leader Chris Brown. “We’ve investigated the market thoroughly, got advice from the business team at UCLan’s Northern Lights department and enjoyed working closely with a great client. We’re now going to develop our business plan further so we’re all set to ride the crest of a wave to the final.”
During the process of creating the training videos the Digitise-It group has spotted a gap in the lucrative software market. They soon realised the current products on the market did not meet their needs so they have set about developing their own software product.
Course Leader Gavin Allanwood said: “I’m extremely proud of them. To win two awards on the day was exceptional and it testament to the effort they’ve put in since September. Last year I was delighted when a UCLan team was a runner-up in the same competition so to go one step better this year was fantastic.”
“Fewer jobs, greater competition and greater expectations mean that it is essential that young people develop their commercial awareness, employability tools and entrepreneurial skills at an early stage."
The group will travel to London’s Canary Wharf for the national final on 14 May.
Young Enterprise North West Start-Up Manager Andy Firr said: “The 12 undergraduate companies clearly demonstrated we have highly entrepreneurial and employable young people in the North West.”
Head Judge Tim Scott, Partner at principal event supporter DWF LLP, told the audience: “Fewer jobs, greater competition and greater expectations mean that it is essential that young people develop their commercial awareness, employability tools and entrepreneurial skills at an early stage.
“Young Enterprise's work with young people in this area is second to none. DWF's specialist Education Sector Group is delighted to work with Young Enterprise, as a partner and as a client.
“DWF is proud to support a programme and competition that encourages our young people to become future business leaders and entrepreneurs.”
Fellow university student companies came from Liverpool John Moores University, Liverpool Hope, Manchester Metropolitan, Chester, Edge Hill and the University of Liverpool to battle for a host of other awards. Tom Howarth of Drift Chester won the McLintocks Student of the Year for leadership and motivational skills, Digitise-IT from UCLan the Barclays Pingit Award, Organica from LJMU both the Barclays Technology and Plexus Cotton Investment Proposal Awards, Refreshers from Liverpool Hope the DWF Best Presentation Award and Bear Mojo, again from Liverpool Hope for the Home Bargains Best Trade Stand Award.
More than 600 18 to 25-year-olds in nine universities and colleges across the North West have taken part in the Young Enterprise Start Up Programme this year, setting up a total of 89 businesses with help of over 60 volunteers from 30 businesses.