University of Hertfordshire awards £20,000 to seven start-up businesses

Young entrepreneurs win share of funding pot to launch business ideas

The University of Hertfordshire has awarded seven UK start-ups a share of £20,000 and office space in its Incubation Centre as part of its annual business competition, flare.

The winning seven businesses, all founded by students or graduates, were selected from over 100 entrants and thirteen finalists for their enterprising and “innovative” business models which they presented at a live pitching event judged by business experts and entrepreneurs.

Business graduate Klerissa McDonald was awarded a top prize of £5,000 for her hair care company Curly By Nature along with student partners Chloe Hackney, Lauren Ash and Jacquelyn Bond-Vaughan who also took home £5,000 for their pet business, Petilicious.

The final £10,000 was split between Ivaylo Danev for his app idea Wintailor, Peter Kelleher for his social enterprise smarterthinking, Beverly Banahene for her food business Bev’s Cookie Desserts, Genevieve Boyake for her cosmetic brand Knotty By Nature and Holly Paine and Elliot Rasberry for their illustration company Holly Francesca.

The plucky businesses now intend to utilise the finance to boost growth and development and have been provided with one year’s free access to the Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce and Industry to support their plans.

Learning of their win at the awards dinner held at Hertfordshire’s Forum last Thursday, Petilicious’ Chloe Hackney commented: “I’m absolutely speechless; it really hasn’t sunk in yet.

“We’re going to use the money to create a website, develop a cat range and continue testing our products.”

Julie Newlan, pro vice-chancellor of enterprise and director of marketing and communications at the University added:

“This year’s competition had some outstanding entries and all of the winning businesses have real potential; we are really excited to see how they develop.”

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