Enterprising graduates scoop top RBS prize


Enterprising graduates scoop top RBS prize

Two graduates who have invented a way to freeze cocktails on a stick have won the top award in RBS EnterprisingU, a nationwide university business plan competition.

Nick Wheeler of Charles Tyrwhitt Shirts, Harry Stimpson and Noah Geeves of LIC, Mark Hanington of FIG

LIC, short for Love Iced Cocktails, scooped a £25,000 prize for its founders, Imperial College London and University of Nottingham graduates Noah Geeves and Harry Stimpson.

LIC makes high-abv cocktail-flavoured iced popsicles with a unique patentable formula that allows the freezing of alcohol with a much higher abv than competitors without the extensive use of stabilisers. The popsicles can be transported in liquid form and frozen in any domestic freezer.

Stimpson said: “We’re absolutely ecstatic to have won RBS EnterprisingU. The £25,000 prize money will be spent on marketing and filing a patent for our formulation.”

2,200 entries

RBS EnterprisingU is a collaboration between RBS and Find Invest Grow (FIG), a venture capital firm focused on the student and recent graduate market. The competition is open to students and graduates of the past five years. It has attracted more than 2,200 entries since launching in September, and a shortlist of seven innovative ideas were picked to present to a panel of judges that included Nick Wheeler, founder of Charles Tyrwhitt, Karen Hanton, founder of Toptable and Peter Ibbetson, RBS Small Business Chairman.

The application process and judging criteria are focussed on ensuring businesses and their founders are investible propositions, meaning the competition is centred on discovering the business success stories of tomorrow.

At the final, hosted by K&L Gates, each company had just ten minutes to present their idea as well as answer probing questions from the panel in front of an audience of around 150 early stage investors and press.

PetShopBowl, a home delivery pet food subscription service and The Tab, a university student media network, took second and third place, winning £10,000 and £5,000.

Managing Director of FIG, Mark Hanington, said: “We were overwhelmed by the standard of entries this year and it was very difficult to select just seven ideas for the final. We were looking to uncover real businesses that make investors sit up and take notice, businesses that solve real world problems and businesses with the ability to generate significant returns from solving those problems. 

“While LIC, PetShopBowl and The Tab thoroughly deserved to win, all of the finalists have great potential and we will continue to support them all going forward.”

RBS Small Business Chairman, Peter Ibbetson, said: “EnterprisingU is an excellent opportunity for students and recent graduates to demonstrate their business potential in front of high profile investors.

Encouraging entrepreneurship

“The sponsorship of EnterprisingU and the partnership with Find Invest Grow are great examples of RBS Inspiring Youth Enterprise, which helps young people to explore and develop their enterprise potential through leadership, resources, and grant funding.”

Other finalists included Bio-bean, a green energy company turning waste coffee grounds into biofuel, Project Policy, a ‘search engine’ for the world’s socio-economic data and My next Tattoo, an online tattoo visualisation tool.

Previous winners of RBS EnterprisingU include SalesGossip, an online and mobile platform that alerts shoppers to sales and Ventive, a low carbon ventilation product.

The competition is the second project RBS Group and FIG have collaborated on. The two firms also run an accreditation scheme, RBS Enterprising Student Society Accreditation (RBS ESSA) that rewards and encourages entrepreneurship in undergraduate student societies.

For more information visit enterprisingu.com

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