Young entrepreneurs win £20K start-up capital at University competition
An innovative new fitness app, FittFind, has won the top prize at the University of Hertfordshire’s annual business start-up awards, Flare.
Economics & Sports studies Ba/Bsc Graduate Ibrahim Fagge, 22, won prestigious title of Best Growth Business category (sponsored by Santander Universities UK) for his company Fittfind. Fittfind has many divisions; the digital division is creating the new app to pair those looking for fitness services i.e. physiotherapists, nutritionists, personal trainers and gyms with those who can best meet their needs. The app also manages schedules and payments for users to make the business of finding the right professional as transparent and streamlined as possible. The sportswear division, which is due to launch at the upcoming 2018 LA fit expo, will sell high quality sportswear designs at reasonable, competitive prices.
Ibrahim impressed all four judges his attention to detail to every element of the development process, along with the sheer amount of hard work and dedication he has put towards launching both the app and his complementary line of sportswear clothing. The judges concluded that ‘with Ibrahim at the helm Fittfind has huge potential for growth’.
Ibrahim said: ‘I'm extremely honoured to be awarded Best Growth Business. This is no doubt an incredible achievement considering the quality of businesses in the final round of the competition and getting to this stage has been challenging. The flare award will help to fund Fittfind's launch at the ‘LA fit expo’ which is a great stepping stone for the brand. I'd like to personally thank all those involved in this great project!’
On the night, two further individual prizes of £5,000 were also shared with the University’s young entrepreneurs. Dr Muna Aziz, 22, won the award for Best Business for her online retail business Mel Janac, which specialises in formal wear, tailored to suit all body shapes and sizes. Through her successful use of social media Dr Aziz has built up an international customer base.
Alessio Regalbuto and Devansh Sharma won £5,000 in the Best Idea category for their company Xultour, an innovative new software which allows users to enhance their e-learning, advertising and tourism content by inserting 360-degree video.
This year the Flare Ignite award, which celebrates in-curricular entrepreneurial work, was presented to sports science students Sam Marchant and Oliver Vagg. Sam and Oliver have developed an all-natural healthy cake bar called Suzero which has already sold over 500 bars in its first month of trading. The students have now moved into a commercial kitchen and are in talks with multiple retailers looking to sell their healthy snack bars to a wider audience.
The winners were announced at a prestigious awards ceremony held at the University’s Weston Auditorium on its De Havilland Campus. The Flare competition final was attended by more than 250 people including past winners, local business men and women and business organisations, such as the Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce (HCoC).
During the awards ceremony the audience also voted for their favourite business start-up idea, awarding a People’s Choice award to Andrew Massingham for Creator Story.
'inspiring, innovative, young entrepreneurs'
Julie Newlan, Pro Vice-Chancellor Business and International Development, said: ‘It has been a great honour to meet so many inspiring, innovative young entrepreneurs as part of this process. The standard of our winners, finalists and nominees this year has surpassed all expectations and I wish them every success as they continue to embark on their journey into the world of commerce.’
It is the 12th year of the competition and in that time more than 1,200 students and graduates have entered with over £190,000 being awarded to the budding business men and women.
The event continues to attract impressive sponsorship and partners. It was announced at the event that local pharmaceutical company Eisai Europe Ltd will be sponsoring an Innovation in Healthcare award as part of Flare 2018. Speaking at the 2017 Flare awards ceremony, David Jefferys, Senior Vice President at Eisai, said: ‘Entrepreneurs contribute greatly to the country's economy, its health and wealth. As a major international research based innovative pharmaceutical company operating from the business park in Hatfield, Eisai is delighted to be sponsoring the Innovation in Healthcare award as part of Flare 2018, to help transform innovative ideas into great ventures.'