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The event, which was sponsored by Santander Universities for the seventh year on the run, included an awards dinner at the Parkgate Road Campus.

The six student finalists pitched their business ideas to judges including Alastair Maxwell from Crest Medical; Bryony Cook from Aaron and Partners; David Pickering from Pickering Enterprises and Kerrian Clatworthy from Santander. 

The pitches were:

  • STUNNI, led by Jordan Trew, is a student discount app that currently has 4,760 subscribers and is launching in other universities around the country.  Both a standard and premium subscription for a range of student discounts are offered.
  • Senergy, led by Jeremy Griffiths, is a highly innovative concept for generating energy from swimming pools. Jeremy is currently working with two engineers to bring the product to market.
  • Peer Pals, led by Raphael Shotikare, is a student driven social enterprise for championing and responding to student mental wellbeing through a peer mentoring scheme and a range of practical support sessions: cookery; fitness; nutrition etc.
  • The Health Colony, led by Harry Madeley, creates vitamin enriched balls for those who find it challenging to absorb the RDA of vitamins. This product was generated as a result of Harry’s work in the NoWFOOD Centre.
  • Deviate PR, led by Holly Royle, who is a Master’s student of Literature, pitched for an online music service promoting artists of the alternative and heavy metal genres.
  • The Goat Tree, led by Jess Kelly and Ayoup Jarrai, set up a co-operative in Morroco producing 100% pure argan oil, which they import and bottle. Both Directors have many connections in Morocco and 20% of profits will go to fund the education of Berber women, who are working in the co-operative, most of whom cannot read or write.

The winner was The Goat Tree, which swept the board at the Young Enterprise Student Start-up Regional Finals earlier this year. Not only did it win Best North West Student Start Up in the regional finals, it also won Best Trade Stand and Managing Director Jessica was named North West Enterprise Student of the Year.

Jessica said: “Ayoup and I are very happy to have won the Santander Enterprise Challenge, judged by a board of directors from a range of sectors. Competing at the first Young Enterprise competition boosted our confidence walking into this competition, but now we have this win under our belt we are even more confident entering the Young Enterprise National Finals in London in May. 

“Being approached by an investor who is looking to invest in our company has completely changed the dynamics of The Goat Tree and surpassed our expectations. Our next step will be to use the money from our win in securing UK certification and UK regulation, working alongside Medigroup as a pharmaceutical manufacturer, guiding us through the process. 

“This summer, Ayoup and I plan to return to Morocco to make updates on capacity, distribution and investigate the ways in which we can introduce tutoring for our Berber women.” 

STUNNII was named runner-up, with The Health Colony in third place. Harry Madeley, Business Director of The Health Colony, who is a second year Entrepreneurship and Business Management student, said: "I was excited to be selected as a finalist and to spend time pitching to experts who could give me feedback on my business. My degree course has given me the confidence to build a company and pitch it as a business professional. From start to finish, the competition was profoundly rewarding and I'd like to thank Connie for all her support. I will remember this day for a long time."

The University offers significant support for student enterprise through its academic programmes, through the Venture Programme where students pitch their business ideas and the Riverside Innovation Centre. Guests at the dinner included representatives from business who support students through mentoring and learning to develop their employability.

Judge Alastair Maxwell from Crest Medical, said: "Listening to these young people talking about their start-up ventures was an absolute privilege and I feel sure that these students are all set for big success in business."

Fellow judge, Kerrian Clatworthy from Santander, added: “It was great to hear the students pitch their ideas and speaking to the students during the Awards Dinner. I enjoyed hearing how they all learnt from the experience and it was great to be a part of that."

Dr Connie Hancock, Head of the Department of Enterprise, Leadership and Management, who organises the competition, said: “I am incredibly proud of our finalists in this year’s University of Chester Enterprise Challenge. The standard was exceptional and evidenced by the comprehensive business plans, passionate pitches and level of overall commitment displayed by the finalists. 

“The University is extremely grateful for the generous support by our key sponsors, Santander, the judges who have given their time freely and the support of the regional business community, whose effort towards recognising entrepreneurial talent in our students is highly valued.” 

Chester Business School offers dedicated degrees in entrepreneurship:  Business Management (Entrepreneurship) and Business Enterprise

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