Strathclyde entrepreneurs compete for £27,500 funding in pitch competition

The winning pitchers Rory Bone, Genna Jodie Masterton, Joanna Butler and Kieren Egan

Start-up companies in the Strathclyde community staked their claims for funding in a competition hosted by the University’s flagship entrepreneurship programme.

Six Strathclyde-led companies pitched their businesses to an audience of entrepreneurs, investors and experts to compete for a share of £27,500 prize funding in the bi-annual Strathclyde Inspire100 event.

Inspire early-stage start-ups and potential spin-outs working with the Commercialisation Team made their three-minute pitches to a judging panel.

Prize fund

The total prize fund was £27,500, with the Stephen Young Entrepreneurship Awards providing a prize pot of £10,000, for a start-up or spin-out business and Santander awarding £7,500 for a start-up business.

Alumnus and entrepreneur Sir Tom Hunter attended the event and awarded an extra £10,000 of funding, allowing the judges to distribute the money between another two of the companies, with four companies awarded funding in total.

MyEmploy, an online employability tool was awarded £10,000 from the Stephen Young Entrepreneurship Awards, while 4SB Mobility, which is developing a secondary, swappable Electric Vehicle battery, that attaches onto the vehicle’s main battery, was awarded £7,500 from Santander Universities.

Gifted Kind, a digital learning platform for children and Carestax, a novel digital platform for carer health and wellbeing, were awarded £5,000 each from Sir Tom.

Joanna Butler, founder of MyEmploy, said: "I am delighted to have secured funding from the Stephen Young Entrepreneurship Awards. This will go towards the development of our AI-driven real time coaching for employability advisers, with the aim of supporting the profession to drive forward solutions that work for unemployed jobseekers."

Other pitches in Inspire100 were made by Natquest, a supply chain technology service, and Light as a Feather, a University spin-out opportunity who plan to introduce innovative storage tanks optimised for exceptional volumetric efficiency.

Transformational gift

In September 2021, the University received a donation from alumnus and global business leader Dr Charles Huang from his philanthropic foundation. This transformational gift funds the Stephen Young Entrepreneurship Awards, the Stephen Young Global Leaders’ Scholarship Programme and the Stephen Young Institute, all launched in honour of Dr Huang’s PhD mentor, Professor Stephen Young. 

Fiona Ireland, Head of Entrepreneurship Strategy at Strathclyde, said:

The event was an excellent showcase of how our award-winning entrepreneurial campus is supporting the next generation of entrepreneurs. 

The financial support that our entrepreneurs received on the night, enabled by the generous support of the Charles Huang Foundation, Santander Universities and Sir Tom Hunter, will undoubtedly accelerate their progress

"We’d like to thank all of those who presented, and our judges who had a tough time selecting winners from a group of exceptionally strong contenders.”

The event also celebrated Strathclyde winning ‘European Entrepreneurial University of the Year’ at the Triple E Awards in Barcelona last summer.

The opening address was given by Strathclyde’s Principal and Vice-Chancellor, Professor Sir Jim McDonald and the judging panel for the event was Rhona Bree from Equity Gap, Rob Halliday from EOS Advisory and Sarah Hume from Scottish Enterprise.