Luke Hosking, aged 26, won £2,000 in cash and £2,000 worth of professional support to take his idea forward. Luke impressed the judges in a final, Dragon's Den-style round of the competition and was named as the winner at an event held this week at the Tamar Science Park.
Luke originally completed an apprenticeship to train as a mechanic but, after qualifying, he decided to study architecture at the University of Plymouth, from where he graduated last year. His business idea, Waste Warmth Ltd, involves converting some of the waste that is currently sent to landfill into biomass, which is classed as a carbon neutral fuel and can be used to heat domestic and commercial buildings. It would help reduce fuel poverty while providing an environmentally-friendly alternative to fossil fuels.
Luke was named as the Stage One winner of the competition earlier this year after impressing judges with his business idea and business plan. Since then, he has attended enterprise workshops organised by the University to help him create a development plan.
"I was quite shocked when my name was called out - I didn't expect to win because there were so many good ideas in the final. I have gained such a lot through taking part in Business Ideas Challenge, I have learned an immense amount about business and have been able to really push myself to improve." he said.
Four runners up were also named at the event - with each receiving £1,000 in cash and £2,000 in professional support to take their ideas forward. These were:
- Paul Sutton for his’T-Sep idea for a device that can be used in the thermal separation process
- Pam Nelmes, for her Cleanies idea for products which promote hand hygiene in young children
- Lisa Fuller, for her sustainable design business Fuller Design Consultants
- Marc Lintern, for his idea, Digger Books, which involves publishing children's books as a hands on learning project for students.
Business Ideas Challenge organiser Barbara Lees said: "All of the finalists showed real entrepreneurship and innovation and the judges found choosing the winner and runners up a very difficult decision. Plymouth is the enterprise university and nurturing and supporting these sorts of business ideas is at the heart of what we do."
As well as speeches from Nigel Halford, chief executive of the Tamar Science Park, and Professor Mary Watkins, Deputy Vice-Chancellor of the University of Plymouth, entrants were also treated to an inspirational address from Oliver Blackwell, a University of Plymouth product design graduate who has won the Daily Mail Concept for Living Award at the Ideal Home Exhibition for his WashDryIron drum-less washing machine - an award which was won by James Dyson with his vacuum cleaner in 1996. Oliver now develops new products for a living, as well as providing design consultancy services.
Oliver explained how he has risen to the top through innovative-thinking, an enterprising approach and fierce determination. He urged all the Business Ideas Challenge entrants to "never, ever give up."
The event also saw the presentation of prizes to the University of Plymouth's team of six students who were narrowly pipped to the post by just one point in the FLUX student enterprise competition earlier this month.
Sponsors and partners of the Business Ideas Challenge competition include: Air Southwest, Formation Zone, Francis Clark, Glanville Environmental, ICO3, LogoWork, Tamar Science Park. HSBC, Biovault, Ashfords, Business Link, CUC, N J Akers, Finance Southwest, Studiospaceone and Limejuice Marketing.