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12th June 2009, 9:59am
Budding business minds have winning ideas
David Rae Young entrepreneurs have been awarded cash prizes totalling £4,000 to help get their innovative new business ideas and community projects off the ground.

For the second year running, the University of Lincoln and Bishop Grosseteste University College ran the Winning Ideas competition.

The competition, which is sponsored by Lincolnshire Enterprise, invites students to suggest creative, community or business ideas which can make a practical difference to life in Lincolnshire.

Professor David Rae from the University of Lincoln is chairman of the panel of judges.

He said: “This year we had very creative entries to the competition from technology, arts, education, business and health backgrounds. Each of the winners has exciting possibilities and will be able to use the award money as well as other support from both institutions to make their idea happen at a time when graduate innovation and enterprise has never been more important.”

Among those benefitting from the competition is University of Lincoln student Vicky Pearson. The enterprising Media Production student is to launch a new website to help gap year students navigate their way to the best value summer placements.

Vicky came up with the idea for a student travel comparison site after talking to friends about their experiences of researching overseas summer camp jobs.

Now her vision is set to become a reality after she won the Best Overall Idea category in the Winning Ideas competition – netting £2,000 in prize money and expert help to develop the website into a functioning business.

The final year student plans to have the site up and running by October this year.

Vicky (24), who has spent recent summers working on a summer camp in America, said: “Talking to friends about travel, most of them seem lost as to what is available out there. Even with working summer camps, there are so many companies and many of them overcharge their applicants.
“I had the idea of setting up a student travel comparison site. By accessing my website you would be able to look at summer travel and work abroad schemes from around the world.
“I would feature only those within a student budget. I would also have these trips and companies grouped together comparing price, what you get, reliability and have the option for past applicants to comment on these companies, giving students a good overview of what they can do.”

The other winners in this year’s Winning Ideas competition were:

  • Most Creative Idea: £1,000
    Joseph Walker and Sophie Ryan for ‘I-Uni’, an I-Phone application which enables to students to find their way around universities.
  • Greatest Community Benefit: £500
    Elizabeth Spowage for ‘Spowage Creations’, which offers education-based teaching and learning activities.
  • Best New Business Idea: £500
    Sophie Blain and Sian Rogers for ‘Fashion Hosiery’.

The Winning Ideas competition was launched last year by the University of Lincoln’s Enterprise, Research and Development Unit in partnership with Bishop Grosseteste University College and Lincolnshire Enterprise.

Last year’s Best Overall Idea belonged to Leanne Moreland and her team with their Maternity Buddy scheme, which pairs up first-time mothers with more experienced ‘buddy’ mums. Leanne, a University of Lincoln student, was on the judging panel of this year’s competition as a past winner.

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