Strathclyde Inspire100 launches

As part of the University’s Entrepreneurship Strategy, the Strathclyde Inspire100 event launched in May. Supported by Santander Universities UK, the event provides Strathclyde start-up and spin out opportunities with a chance to pitch for a portion of a £20,000 prize pot. Over the next five years, Inspire100 will seek to focus on giving 100 start-up and spin out opportunities the chance to present to an audience of entrepreneurs, investors and experts; gaining valuable feedback, making contacts and inspiring next steps in their entrepreneurial growth.

Uniquely, the launch saw a one-off prize fund of £40,000, where a judging panel made up of angel investors chose a start-up and a spin out category winner. There was also the opportunity for the audience to vote electronically for their favourite to win an additional £1,000.

The judges commented on the high calibre of all spin out and start-up companies, and commended them all on their pitching and ability to answer tough questions, as well as adapt presentations to the online format necessitated by Covid restrictions. 

The Chair for the evening was Dr Julie Nixon, Senior Associate of Morton Fraser, who brought the event to a close and announced the winners.

Spin out category winner Contimed, founded by Professors Alastair Florence and Gavin Halbert and Dr John Robertson (SIPBS), together with Craig Johnston and CEO Designate, Mark Wilson, was awarded the full £20,000.  ContiMed will apply advanced continuous manufacturing approaches to enable rapid supply-to-order provision of formulated activities for phase II clinical trials, reducing drug product manufacturing timelines, inventory requirements and clinical trial supply costs

And following a long deliberation, the judges decided to split the winnings for the start up category into two £10,000 prizes, with Strathclyde start-ups Connex Solar and WashR being the well-deserved recipients.

Connex Solar CEO Fraser Stewart, of the University’s School of Government and Public Policy, also won the coveted ‘Audience Vote’ prize for best pitch, worth £1,000.  The group, headed up by Fraser Stewart and Bartosz Soltowskiof EEE, also won the recent Scottish EDGE Wild Card Challenge and both prizes will help to scale up its innovative solar interconnection technology in Rwanda, which connects solar panels together to form microgrids, unlocking energy that currently goes to waste for more productive social and economic uses.

WashR is start-up developing an on-demand, rapid reusable cup cleaning system designed to dramatically reduce cup waste by making it more hygienic and convenient to use a reusable cup.