A group of inventive postgraduate students from Kingston University are celebrating after winning a prestigious prize at the final of a national entrepreneurship competition.
One Minute – a team made up of Kingston Business School MSc Innovation Management and Entrepreneurship students – was awarded Best Business Pitch at this year’s Young Enterprise national final at Loughborough College, for the creation of the Tyton Case – a protective device that gym-goers can use to store mobile phones and tablets during a workout.
The four-strong team – including managing director Sanif Momin, finance director Claire Volke, marketing director Divesh Kaim and operations director Hector Baeza – is formed from students on the ‘design thinking for start-ups’ module at Kingston Business School. This module involves students working together in a group to set up a business.
Having already triumphed in the Best Product category at the Bright Ideas competition hosted by the University’s enterprise education department earlier in the year, One Minute was selected by an independent panel of judges to progress to the national final after a Dragons’ Den-style pitching contest among fellow Kingston Business School teams. At the national final, the team went up against 10 other student businesses from across the country, receiving plaudits for the quality of their presentation.
For Sanif, it was the second time in three years that his entrepreneurial skills had been recognised as, while studying for his undergraduate business administration degree at Kingston University, he also reached the Young Enterprise Final in 2016 as part of Team Staunchh which scooped the Company of The Year award.
Sanif said he was proud to be part of a group whose teamwork and flexibility had shone through. “During the first three months of the year we were actually working on a totally different business concept but after encountering several tricky hurdles we had to regroup and come up with a new idea,” he explained. “To have achieved so much with our Tyton Case in such a short space of time is very satisfying. We definitely plan to develop the idea further outside of our studies and will hopefully be bringing the product to market during the summer.”
The students were taught and supervised by lecturer in business design Dr Alice Comi, who said she’d been highly impressed by the calibre of the ideas put forward by both the postgraduate and undergraduate teams this year. The success of the Tyton product once again demonstrated the creative and entrepreneurial flair displayed by Kingston University students, she said.
“Year-on-year the overall quality of Young Enterprise entrants soars and the competition intensifies,” Dr Comi said. “This year the Tyton group really stood out as their product and presentation had been meticulously researched. The team particularly deserve credit after experiencing a setback with their original plans but showing the maturity, resilience and creative instinct to design something totally new – then succeed in a series of competitions – all within the space of just five months.”
The University’s Department of Strategy, Marketing and Innovation offers courses and modules in Entrepreneurship, that is further enhanced through engagement in other opportunities offered at the University, such as Bright Ideas. Enterprise formed a significant part of the curriculum for all undergraduate and postgraduate study not just at Kingston Business School, but across the whole University, Dr Comi said.
“Enterprise education equips students with such excellent employability skills as project management, marketing and presenting,” she added. “The University fosters an environment that supports the creation of startups by helping all students – regardless of the subjects they are studying – to develop ideas, build networks and enter competitions where they can develop their skills further and receive expert guidance and feedback.”
The latest Higher Education Business and Community Interaction Survey 2015/16 reported that, for the eighth year running, Kingston was one of the top two universities in the country for the number of graduates starting up their own businesses.
Sanif paid tribute to Dr Comi and the support he had received from his tutors and the enterprise education team. “Kingston University really is one of the most entrepreneurially-focused universities,” he said. “With the dedication of lecturers and opportunities that exist, you can take that big jump with an idea and develop it further.”
Picture shows The Tyton case and the four Kingston Business School postgraduate students who created it.