Start-up experts from across Europe have visited Teesside University to help young entrepreneurs develop and test innovative business ideas.
Coaches from as far afield as the Netherlands visited the University for a weekend of activities aimed at developing the entrepreneurs of tomorrow.
The University teamed up with the Start-up Foundation to bring the internationally renowned SF Experience Teesside (formerly known as Evolv Weekend) to Middlesbrough.
Headed up by Leon Pals, head of The Start-up Foundation in Rotterdam, the weekend focussed on Lean Start-up methodology where entrepreneurs develop and test business models with real customers.
As a result of their work over the weekend, three teams of students have been given Student Enterprise Awards of £1,000 each to test their start-up ideas with real customers.
At the start of the event, on the Friday evening, each team pitched a problem that they wanted to solve.
Over the course of the weekend, teams held customer interviews and ideas testing to engage and win paying customers.
The winning teams were: • Super Chopper – Peter Conlin, Credia Ineza and Shahbaz Khan – a business which aggregates online grocery shopping prices to deliver the best value shopping basket to your door. • Your Style – Cotilda Makhumula-Nkhoma and Oliver Cheetham – an app that delivers instant peer-peer feedback on the users’ clothing and styling choices. • Tech Help – Will Ridley and Abel Germa – a service that leverages technical knowhow to help older people choose, install and use technology products. Each of the winners will also receive mentoring and support from high quality coaches.
Will Ridley from Tech Help, who is also President of the Students’ Union, said: 'It was a fantastic weekend and it was excellent to see these sort of entrepreneurial activities on campus.
'There was a great range of ideas from students from all different backgrounds and disciplines.
'It really helped some students overcome their natural shyness and become much more confident.'
During the weekend the students held customer conversations to find out what customers wanted and ideas testing to validate or bust their ideas, with one of the teams winning paying customers.
Laura Woods, Director of Academic Enterprise, said: 'Encouraging entrepreneurship as a viable career path for students is one of our primary aims at Teesside University.
'This weekend proved that our students are brimming with great creative ideas. The Start-up Foundation Experience will help to give them the skills and knowledge they need to help turn their business aspirations into reality.'