The finalists have been revealed for this year’s Ignite business plan competition, with a prize fund worth more than £120k up for grabs.
Organised by Oxford Innovation as part of its Coaching for High Growth Programme, the Ignite competition is funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) Convergence Programme together with sponsorship from a number of local businesses.
The competition attracted more than 240 expressions of interest and more than 100 people went on to attend one of the Ignite Experience business start-up workshops.
From these, a shortlist of eight finalists has drawn up and they will now compete for the prize package in order to help get their new venture off the ground.
The finalists are:
- ISO Spaces: Truro-based Ben Treleaven and Gregg Curtis have a vision to transform recycled shipping containers into modular buildings and pop-up units. The fledging company already has a strong social media presence and aims to achieve a £1 million turnover in three years.
- Roseland Technologies: A water treatment company founded in January 2013 by Katy Bray and her father. Katy, based in St Mawes, wants to expand the business to focus on plumbing product sales for commercial clients and travel products for travellers and sports enthusiasts.
- Beach Buddy: A company run by Nigel Pengelly and Todd Barden from Penzance who have created a comprehensive, interactive smartphone application and website to guide beach users in Cornwall to their idea beach, offering information on facilities like parking, weather, surf conditions, accommodation and events.
- Cornish Gouda: A Dutch family-run business based in Lanreath and led by Giel Spierings which produces a variety of handcrafted cheeses and sells to customers including the Eden Project. The business wants to expand and become the recognised brand in the UK for premium Gouda cheese.
- Cornish Masonry Stoves: A new company based near Bodmin launched by Guy Nott-Bower which manufactures and sells innovative wood-burning masonry stoves designed to age-old techniques first pioneered by the Romans.
- Visit Football: An idea for an online travel company by Falmouth-based Lewis Youngson and Hannah Backhouse which would operate insightful tours including a package of hotel, transport and football-inspired extras as well tickets for matches.
- Deli-pops: Started only four months ago, this business run by St Agnes couple Victoria and Joseph Waters manufactures and sells gourmet ice lollies from locally grown fruits and herbs. The pair want to make Deli-pops a nationally recognised brand.
- Kernow Black: Peter Hardy from St Buryan near Penzance plans to launch a new company producing and selling more eco-friendly soil improvement products which retain water and would benefit gardeners concerned about their water bill.
The finalists were chosen by a panel of judges made up of more than 20 experienced business leaders from across Cornwall and chaired by John Stewart of Worlds Apart.
Each of the eight fledgling companies will now continue to work closely with an Oxford Innovation business coach to refine their business plans before formally pitching their proposals to the Ignite 2013 judging panel. The winner will be announced on November 14 at a grand final event.
Ignite project manager and Oxford Innovation coach, Alan Street, said: “There has been enormous interest in the Ignite competition this year and the judges had a demanding job to narrow the field down to just eight finalists.
“We look forward to finding out more about these exciting new business ideas as the finalists work up and present their detailed business plans.”
Ignite 2013 is being generously supported by sponsors including: Foot Anstey, Francis Clark, Jarrang (MailAway), Pirate FM, Sideways, Creative Edge, Stranger Collective, PFA Research, Cornwall Chamber of Commerce, The Vine, DCA Public Relations, Tremough Innovation Centre, Pool Innovation Centre, 3 White Hats, Business Cornwall, Tamar HR, Federation of Small Businesses, St Austell Printing Company, UKNetweb, Buff Industrial Design, NJ Akers, Export Cornwall and 3B International.