Student and staff innovators celebrate success
Inventive products and services pioneered by students, staff and recent graduates have been showcased at the University’s annual innovation awards.
Winning entries include a process that turns disposable coffee cups into fertiliser, an app for buying and selling from charity shops and an online hub that supports brands in the emerging clean beauty sector.
The 2018 Inspire Launch Grow awards were hosted by Edinburgh Innovations, which supports entrepreneurs as part of its industry engagement service for the University.
Some 22 finalists presented their businesses to a panel of judges earlier in the month. Winners in five categories were announced at the awards event on Wednesday, 13 June. Prizes of up to £5,000 were presented.
Finalists ranged from businesses at the early stages of developing their product to more established companies with growing customer bases.
Winner of the Emerging Innovation Award for staff was University spin-out company Carbogenics, founded by Dr Jan Mumme of the School of Geosciences.
Winning was unexpected, especially against such strong competitors. We have felt so supported by the University and our business advisers.
Carbogenics has developed a novel process to turn disposable coffee cups and other non-recyclable paper-based waste into a material called CreChar. It can be used as a soil enhancer as well as other applications, such as the treatment of waste water and boosting the productivity of biogas generators.
The process of making CreChar is carbon negative – it removes more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere than it creates.
The winner of the Emerging Innovation Award for students was Crover. Founded by Lorenzo Conti, a PhD student in the School of Engineering, it has developed the first remote probing device that is able to move within silos of stored grain.
Crover gives real time measurements of factors such as moisture and temperature, enabling early detection of potential spoilage and reducing waste and financial losses.
Recent MBA graduate Raquel Wing’s company The Clean Hub won the Enterprise Award. It is the world’s first and only resource hub and support network for founders of so-called clean beauty companies – those that use no known toxins. It already has around 180 brands signed up.
The Social and Environmental Award was won by One Cherry, which was founded by Anton Puzorjov, a PhD student in the School of Biological Sciences.
One Cherry is an online marketplace for second-hand retailers, such as charity shops. Shops can upload images of their stock in less than 20 seconds per item, expanding their reach to customers, and customers can shop for second-hand items from anywhere and on any device.
The Innovation Cup went to uFraction8, founded by engineering alumnus Dr Brian Miller. He and his team have developed a pioneering hydrodynamic technique for cell separation and de-watering. His innovation uses less energy and produces higher yields than conventional methods.
A special Entrepreneurial Achiever Award was presented to Enactus Edinburgh, a group of 83 students that recently won a national competition for social entrepreneurs and will represent the UK at the Enactus World Cup in California in October.
Among the judges were senior figures from Scotland’s angel investor scene. Also present were successful entrepreneurs who have previously been supported by Edinburgh Innovations and its service for student entrepreneurs, LAUNCH.ed.
Speakers included David Hunter, creator of Shotscope, the golf performance tracking system. Mr Hunter has received support from Edinburgh Innovations and its LAUNCH.ed service, having studied at Moray House School of Education in 2012-13.
I congratulate all the finalists and winners, and we look forward to continuing to support them on their journeys as entrepreneurs.