Alumni Innovation Award | It’s not goodbye!

Back in Summer 2018, SETsquared Bath and the University of Bath Alumni department awarded three exceptional graduates the Alumni Innovation Award. The award gives promising entrepreneurs an opportunity to start up their business after graduation by awarding them with a grant of £15k, one year’s membership at the SETsquared Bath Innovation Centre and a 1:1 business mentor.

The winners were:

All three winners kicked off their year in October 2018 and have had incredible successes. You can read about their journeys via their guest blogs that they wrote for us throughout their startup year.

Compact Cane ended the award year on a high with a leading VC investing in Compact Cane and being accepted on the Bethnal Green Tech for Good Investment Accelerator programme in London. Nia will be renewing her membership here at SETsquared Bath Innovation Centre so we can support Compact Cane in her second year and beyond. Nia Simpson told us:

The grant I received gave me validation and security to take the leap and pursue my business idea full-time. For a long time, I’ve wanted to become an Inventor and make a positive impact but didn’t know how to get there – this Alumni Innovation Award gave me the tools and support to start on my journey. I have grown and accomplished a lot more than I could have imagined, and that is thanks to the amazing community of supporters and fellow entrepreneurs around me from SETsquared and University of Bath.

The BioFactory ended the year with an invite from InnovateUK for a trade mission to Kenya, was a finalist in the Santander Universities Entrepreneurship Awards and has applied for an InnovateUK Energy Catalyst grant. Eoin has almost sourced a location to build the UK prototype and has developed a thorough financial forecast for the project. The BioFactory will be remaining SETsquared Bath members so that we can continue to support them and their next stages of growth. Eoin is also a finalist in Pitch@Palace 12.0 - good luck for the next stage of the finals on 6th November 2019! Eoin said:

Receiving the Alumni Innovation Award from the University of Bath gave me the confidence and resources to pursue my idea further, allowing me to develop a strong business around our product. Through SETsquared support, I have been able to develop the strong network of advisers, mentors and contacts that I need to bring our system to market. What is most important to me is having a community of fellow entrepreneurs all going through, or have already gone through the same struggles that I am. This has helped me keep focused on the goals and not get too hung up on any drawbacks. I’m very excited to keep involved with SETsquared through our development phase starting in the next 6 months.

Parimala, founder of Retra, journey took a different journey to Nia and Eoin’s. Shortly after Parimala accepted the Innovation Award she was offered a six month research placement in TU Eindhoven for her PhD studies meaning her startup, Retra, had to go on the back-burner. Although Parimala’s placement gave her valuable research and experience in the field and she still updated her guest blog for us, we all agreed it would be best for Parimala to defer her award year until after PhD graduation and join the new cohort afresh in October 2019. So make sure you stay tuned this year to find out how Retra develops into 2020!

On behalf of the team here and the award winners we would like to extend our thank you and appreciation to our Innovation Award donor: His Excellency Khalil Foulathi.