Awards for Bright Ideas
Leading figures in Manchester business and academia came together at The University of Manchester Innovation Centre (UMIC) on Friday 22nd June as part of a unique social enterprise innovation competition.
The ‘Grand Prix’ final introduced established businesses to the latest ideas and innovations for social enterprises currently being developed within The University of Manchester, with the aim of tapping into accumulated knowledge and commercial expertise.
The Grand Prix was the culmination of five months of applications, preliminary rounds and judging by The University’s Faculty of Humanities and UMIᶟ – The University’s Innovation Group.
The competition was open to the Faculty’s academics, postgraduates and staff, who were invited to submit an idea for a social-based venture, with a view to growing their enterprise.
Following a hugely successful entry stage six applicants were selected to participate in the Grand Prix.
The six shortlisted applicants pitched their ideas to a panel of judges comprising The Faculty of Humanities, The University of Manchester Intellectual Property (UMIP), Manchester Enterprise Centre, UnLtd, Winning Pitch Ltd and Frontier PR.
All finalists received a package of commercial support based on the expertise of the various judges and the specific needs of their enterprise. The successful applicants were:
WeaveMCR: A social action platform focused on bringing the Manchester public and institutions together for social innovation and change. Prize won: £7.5k from the Faculty of Humanities and UMIᶟ and Business Mentoring and Accommodation Support package from UMIC.
Un-convention – A series of global events aimed specifically at the grassroots and independent music sector. Prize won: £7.5k from the Faculty of Humanities and UMIᶟ
One Day Like This: A self-guided digital tour of Manchester’s famous and historic musical sites. Prize won: £5k from the Faculty of Humanities and UMIᶟ and a bespoke marketing and communications package from Frontier PR.
Aplaceforme.com: A website hosted by Network for Information Symmetry in Higher Education. Prize won: A half day bespoke mentoring and development support package from UnLtd the social enterprise charity.
Multi-F: A specialist consultancy focusing on multi-faith spaces in buildings. Prize won: Business Mentoring and Accommodation Support package from UMIC
Link 360: A leadership network for social enterprise leaders. Prize won: 3 x one-2-one sessions with Winning Pitch the specialist provider of high growth coaching services
A range of social enterprise experts attended the event, including representatives from the University, UnLtd – the national charity supporting social entrepreneurs and the local community, Jayne Lawton of Grobox Ltd, Leigh Wharton of community incubator Bubble Enterprises and Melanie Bryan OBE – a multi-award winning social entrepreneur.
Professor James Thompson, Associate Dean for Humanities at the University, comments: “Many thanks to all the entrants to this first social enterprise competition, and to all the colleagues from UMI3, MEC and the external partners like UnLtd, Winning Pitch and Frontier PR.
The Faculty is committed to ensure our research has social impact and offers new ways for communities beyond the university to benefit from the work we do. This competition’s entrants have demonstrated how exceptional research and teaching can reach beyond the campus to produce diverse and important social benefit.”
Professor James Thompson concludes: “This competition also strengthens The University of Manchester’s commitment to social responsibility and for the good of society in general.”
Heather Thompson, Director of Licensing at UMIP, commented: “Not all UMIP projects are IP based, we are also working within the University looking at untapped alternative ideas, and these winners exemplify new ventures with a social purpose.”
Awards judge and MD of Manchester based Frontier PR Ltd, David-Innes Edwards, commented: “It was a privilege to spend a day with such innovative and passionate individuals, and I’d like to thanks UMIP and The University of Manchester for inviting Frontier PR to be involved.
As a result of the Grand Prix Frontier PR will be working with One Day Like This and helping them take their exciting digital walking tours to the worlds Manchester music fans. We can’t wait to get started.”
Ruth Daniel, Un-Convention and James Duggan, WeaveMCR with Professor Luke Georghiou, Vice-President for Research and Innovation.