2014's Student Venture Challenge finalists.

Design and engineering key to competition wins

For the first time in the history of the University of Nottingham’s annual Student Venture Challenge (SVC) competition, the top three winners’ business ideas were all based on the production of a physical product.

The challenge, run by Nottingham University Business School’s Haydn Green Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, asked teams of students to pitch their business ideas to an external panel of judges. These selected the top three teams to win a cash prize to enable them to further progress their business. The judges were looking for ideas that demonstrated innovation and inventiveness as well as a genuine need for the product or service.

Product design and manufacture student Tom Parker took first prize with his proposal for an eSteady GoPro camera rig. The product enables anyone to create high production value footage across a variety of applications by stabilising motion. It can be used to improve handheld filming or mounted to a moving platform. It can even be attached to a mountain bike to create high quality action footage.

“The whole process of the Student Venture Challenge was incredibly useful in helping to critically think about the viability of my proposed business,” he says. “The workshops provided lots of extremely valuable information which I used for my entry and when creating the final pitch for the judges.”

Second place was taken by economics with chinese studies student Oliver English and management studies student Myles McCarthy with their product: the world’s first fully customisable snowboard, which allows the user to change the graphics on their board using a mobile app.

Mechanical engineering students David Alatorre, Thomas Dryden, Thomas Shorten and Peter Storey took third place with their pitch for their Freefall Camera, the world’s first autonomous freefalling camera robot. The device will enable skydivers to be filmed at any time they choose instead of being bound by camera flyer availability.

The winning teams will receive a share of £15,000 courtesy of Santander and the Higher Education Innovation Fund as well as professional advice from sponsors Haines Watts and support from staff at the centre.

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