By Daniel Hunter

Student entrepreneurs from across the UK were recognised yesterday and rewarded at the fifth annual Santander Universities Entrepreneurship Awards ceremony at Santander UK’s headquarters in London.

The Santander Universities Entrepreneurship Awards support and encourage university students to pursue their business ideas by awarding the best with cash prizes. Research conducted by Santander Universities UK(1) revealed that almost a quarter (24%) of university students run their own business or plan to start a business while at university.

Santander Universities also announced 2,000 mobility awards to allow both international and UK students to continue their studies and research abroad; 2,000 internships as part of its SME Internship Programme, and 500 SME work placements for undergraduates, to help students enter the job market and give SMEs access to young talent; and a new Digital Fund to provide £5,000 to each of its 78 university partners for digital activities aimed at the development of research or education.

The six winning entries were selected from a shortlist of 10 entrepreneurial projects by a panel of judges representing several UK universities, business schools and Santander. Each of the six have won cash prizes ranging from £1,000 to £20,000.

The undergraduate winners were:
First prize: PickProtection from the University of Strathclyde
Second prize: Roomshake from the University of Lancaster
Third prize: BeautyFind from Queen’s University Belfast

The postgraduate winners were:
First prize: Mediwikis from Newcastle University
Second prize: WingLights from City University London
Third prize: @Shrimpingit from the University of Lancaster

During the event, which hosted 48 Vice Chancellors, Principals and Presidents from Universities and Colleges across the country, Nathan Bostock, Chief Executive Officer at Santander UK stressed the importance of supporting Higher Education: “There is no better way to invest in society than through education. Since 2007, Santander Universities has invested £40 million in the UK and this is expected to exceed £60 million by the end of 2016.

“The UK needs new ideas, state of the art products and innovative companies, and it’s impressive to see so many students demonstrating a great deal of skill and initiative. The UK has one of the best higher education systems in the world and is the perfect breeding ground for entrepreneurs. At Santander we want to reward and encourage students to dare to invent, innovate, create, and be entrepreneurial.”

Stuart Maitland, 22 years old from Whitley Bay and Co-founder of Mediwikis commented: “We are extremely happy to win these awards as it enables us to enter a new phase of growth with the project. It will also allow us to reach out to more and more campuses across the UK and help more medical students to build their own learning communities on campus.”

“Lots of developing countries completely lack eLearning resources. They have textbooks, but the textbooks are slow to get into the country. There’s no way for students to share the resources that are relevant to them and that can make them the best practitioners that they can be. We provide Mediwikis completely free in these countries, and we started by setting up in Rwanda and Zambia.”