As part of the UK’s first ‘University Demo Day’, entrepreneurial students and graduates from The University of Manchester and Manchester Metropolitan University pitched their business ideas to 160 of the City’s most influential investors and businesses. The event, co-ordinated by Manchester Entrepreneurs, was held on Wednesday 18th March at Studio 6, part of the Old Granada Studios development in Spinningfields and saw eight of the universities’ most innovative student start-up’s pitch for support.
Co-founder and Joint Chief Executive of Manchester-based online retailer, Boohoo.com, Mahmud Kamani, opened the Dragons’ Den style event, after which the start-ups took to the floor to showcase their creativity and enthusiasm for business success. Guests included Richard Young, North of England Director at the British Venture Capital Association, Luke Georghiou, Director of Research and Innovation at The University of Manchester, and Justin Normand Entrepreneurship Manager at Mass Challenge UK.
Erol Chioasca, a PhD student from The University of Manchester and UMIP IQuBit awardee pitched on the night hoping to attract both investment and expert advice from the floor.
His software programme TRAM, is an innovative and disruptive technology which allows a faster, cheaper, more consistent and accurate business analysis service, than conventional services. His software analyses problems within businesses 7 times faster than a traditional business analyst and is a smart service which overcomes manual processes. His software currently has a patent filed under PCT application and was voted “Best student tool” in the Automated Software Engineering conference in Silicon Valley, 2013.
Erol explains: “TRAM is a software service, which helps its users save time and money during the first analysis stage of business operations. It improves the efficiency and timescale of first stage analysis. There is a huge opportunity in a high growth market place and there is not a like for like competitor, which makes TRAM a disruptive technology that addresses the problems of analysts today.”
“The Demo Day was a great event that brought together young entrepreneurs from MCR,” he added. “It showcased amazing projects, bringing together people with different backgrounds but common entrepreneurial interests. As for us, we got in touch with a few potential clients, got an invitation to apply to another start-up event, and were approached by a couple of potential investors. Not bad!”
The evening was the culmination of a four-month scheme, ‘Accelerate ME’ which was delivered by award-winning student society, Manchester Entrepreneurs. The scheme was launched to connect student start-ups with the resources, network and funds the society has to help them accelerate their businesses.
Tom McCann, Director at Manchester Entrepreneurs, said: “The feedback from guests has been terrific, with many of the investors, including Boohoo, making really positive noises about getting involved. This kind of event really highlights the exciting path Manchester is taking to become a ‘Top 5 European Startup Destination’ and helps to focus on the important role that the universities and academic community have to play in making it happen.”
The event was supported by a number of companies and institutions including UMIP.
Ellie Buckley, Enterprise and Business Development Executive and IQuBit programme lead at UMIP, said: “We have a fantastic working relationship with Manchester Entrepreneurs and we were delighted to sponsor their demo day. Our IQuBit programme supports students with digital ideas and we provide our awardees with kickstarter funding, access to networks and mentors which can help their start-up progress to the next stage. Events like these are just what our awardees need to develop their business, collaborate with industry experts and increase their exposure within the start-up scene. Monique, Tom and the rest of the team organised an excellent event to showcase the talent coming out of both the academic and student community at The University of Manchester.”
This event was also supported by Hello Work, The Business Growth Hub, Business Finance Solutions, Innospace, Natwest, Chancery Accounts and Co Angel Investment.