News & Press Cuttings
Durham scoops up awards at Regional Grand Final
(22 October 2010)
JUDGES at the awards for the best business plans to come from graduates, undergraduates and staff from the North East universities said “the competition was tougher than ever this year.
At the awards ceremony at the Hilton in Gateshead last night the Business Award prize went to Newcastle University graduate Adam Soliman, who launched Charbrew last year with backing from Tyneside entrepreneur Dr Tony Trapp. His teas are now sold nationwide at Lakeland stores as, well as independent shops.
The Creativity & Design Awards was Won by Squirrel Audio. Durham University graduates Douglas Bourne and William Soutter are winning sales far their firm which sells audio products to musicians.
The Social Enterprise Award went to Emily Henderson of Durham University. Tatal Lifestyle Camps, which runs fitness camps for children in the school holidays.
And the Knowledge Transfer Award went to Durham Graphene Science which is run by Durham University's Dr Karl Caleman to develop and retail products containing graphene, a carbon nano-material that could potentially replace carbon fibre.
Brian Tanner, Dean of Knowledge Transfer at Durham University and Cofounder of Blueprint said “this
year's entries were excellent across the board and stand testament to an en¬terprise culture shared by all the region's universities."
“While the prizes and accolade are a huge part of the competition, it is the journey that the competitors take to reach the final that is most important.
"In the build-up to the final, the finalists are given access to some of the best business brains in the region as mentors and advisers and are introduced to some hugely influential networks which will no doubt prove invaluable as their businesses develop.
"It is this additional help and support that ensures so many of these business plans turn from a success on paper to a reality, which is so important for the region's economy."
Stephen Green, head of communications at the Entrepreneurs' Forum and one of the judges said: "For many, the plan and the competition is the first step into business, and it's critical that they use it as the platform to start conversations, make connections. and take the actions that will see their ambitions become a reality."
While it was a night of celebration for the winners and the final¬ists, there is some uncertainty over the future of the Blueprint Awards.
Brian Tanner said: "It was difficult not to let this year's final be overshadowed by the Comprehensive Spending Review and its impact on public-sector spending.
"Unless we can find a private sector replacement for One North East as the Blueprint Awards' major sponsor, we may have to make major modifications to next year's competition.
"Blueprint plays such an important role in bridging the business community and the region's universities and has a hugely positive impact on the North East's enterprise culture.
"It is absolutely essential that it continues."
For more information about the Blueprint Competition please visitwww.blueprintcompetition.co.uk