School of Economics

Pet matching app by Kent student wins £1,000 investment

30 May 2017

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Student ideas pitched at the Business Start-Up Journey final impress judges so much they invest an extra £1,500 into three proposals.

Second-year Economics and Sociology student Jaye Graham won the overall competition, receiving a £1,000 investment for her business, Pawfect Match, which utilises a Tinder-style interface to match unhomed cats and dogs with potential owners. This investment was double the event's usual £500 prize as the judges were so impressed by the idea.

Furthermore, two students from Kent Business School (KBS) were awarded £500 towards their ideas after the judges felt compelled to provide funding to their projects too.

These awards went to Vasu Sarin for his business Tab, which uses wearable technology to allow care homes to remotely monitor elderly people's health, and Anton Carter for his app Phonic that scans text and reads it aloud to aid learning.

In total eight students took part in the final, marking the culmination of the nine-month Business Start-Up Journey programme which began in November 2016 and run by the KBS's Accelerator Space for Innovation and Responsible Enterprise (ASPIRE).

Around 100 students entered the competition, with each meeting with ASPIRE entrepreneur in residence Adam Smith to discuss their ideas. All students were also able to attend a series of workshops exploring and explaining various areas of essential business knowledge such as sources of finance, marketing and intellectual property rights.

Eighty ideas were submitted for consideration and 40 were chosen for progression. These students were then invited on a two-day business 'bootcamp' where they collaborated, pitched to each other and took part in teambuilding to further hone their ideas.

From these final ideas, the eight pitchers and three video submissions were selected for the final event where they presented their ideas to a panel of judges:

  • Daniel Rubin – Founder and Executive Chairman Dune Group
  • Steve Lowe – MD Elsatex
  • Adam Baker – Santander Universities
  • Dean Johnson –  CEO Haag Streit UK
  • Brenda Okandju – KBS alumna, Business Start-Up Journey finalist (2016-17)

The Business Start-Up Journey also sends two students to the European Innovation Academy – a three-week tech start-up festival which takes place around the world.

This year students Joe Rovira (final year English student) and Laura Candrian (KBS) will be going to Turin and Lisbon, respectively.

Joe is developing an app which connects people to share language skills and Laura's idea is CoZero (working title) an app that offers people healthier lifestyle choices about how to lower their carbon emissions.

-ENDS-

Article by Dan Worth, University of Kent Press Office

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