Ten businesses run by University of South Wales (USW) graduates have shared a total of £23,500 from the Springboard Startup competition.
The fourth round of the competition was open to students who graduated from USW in 2019, 2020 or 2021 and had a new business idea that was already within six months of starting, or ready to trade within six months of the funds.
The business ideas range from drone surveying to sound engineering, to the development of keepers, and a dice save item for dungeons and dragons.
Of the 15 who entered the competition, 10 were shortlisted to make video pitches to the panel of judges. The judging panel was chaired by Richie Turner, Startup Stiwdio manager, and included Jonny Jones, Student Enterprise Manager at USW; Ian Cooke Tapia of Cooked Illustrations, who is the longest serving member of the Cardiff Stiwdio; and Millie Sutherland O’Gara, who was a USW Springboard Intern and is now a project officer for USW’s freelance agency.
As part of the process, priority was given to applications from graduate start-ups or freelancers who showed evidence of an innovative business idea with a proven market or customers, demonstrated the likelihood of growth, lived or would live in Newport or the Gwent Valley wanted to be based in the new Newport or Treforest Stiwdios, and clearly demonstrated the need for the funding.
It was also the first year that the maximum grant of £5,000 was awarded, with Geospatial Environmental Solutions (GES), run by Mitchell Eboigbe, who graduated from USW’s School of Computing and Mathematics, the recipient.
“This award empowers GES to implement reliable and cost-effective use of drone cameras and image capture patterns for accurate, higher resolution and interactive digital images, maps and plans,”
Mr Eboigbe said.
“GES will work closely with government agencies, research groups and other private environmental agencies for sensitization and marketing purposes.”
After the winners were announced, Richie Turner added:
“This is the largest round of start-up awards we have ever given, which shows that the number of high-caliber graduates with great business ideas is increasing year after year at USW.”
The winners of the Springboard funding were:
- Mitchell Eboigbe – £5,000 – Geospatial Environmental Solutions.
- Sullie Burgess – £3,500 for developing video ads.
- Jordan Powell – Powell Audio – £3,000 for freelance audio engineering.
- Chloe Withers – TeaKind – £2,500 – to focus on mental health awareness.
- Lewis John – Intelligent Goalkeeper – £2,500 for the holistic development of goalkeepers.
- Ioan Raileanu – Murals for All – £2,000 to provide murals to adults in residential care.
- Luke Weston – £2,000 for VR production studio.
- Courtney Goddard – £1,500 for creative fashion and product photography.
- Chrystian Adach – LilBlacksmith – £1,000 for dice storage items for dungeons and dragons.
- Veefad Ventures Limited – £500 to develop The BAME Community Voice magazine.