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The RBS EnterprisingU 2013 Final

At the beginning of the month, we hosted the 2013 RBS EnterprisingU Final in London.

Yesterday we hosted the final of the 2013 RBS EnterprisingU competition in London.

RBS EnterprisingU, which is open to students and graduates of the past five years, attracted more than 2,200 entries since launching in September. A shortlist of seven innovative ideas were picked to present to a panel of judges that included business luminaries such as Nick Wheeler, founder of Charles Tyrwhitt, Karen Hanton, founder of Toptable and Peter Ibbetson, RBS Small Business Chairman.

At the final, hosted by K&L Gates, each company had just ten minutes to present their idea as well as answer probing questions from the panel in front of an audience of around 150 early-stage investors and press.

It was however LIC, short for Love Iced Cocktails, that impressed the most scooping the top prize of £25,000. The business, founded by Imperial College London and University of Nottingham graduates Noah Geeves and Harry Stimpson, makes high-abv cocktail-flavoured iced popsicles. Their unique patentable formula allows the freezing of alcohol with a much higher abv than competitors without the extensive use of stabilisers. In addition, their products can be transported in liquid form and frozen in any domestic freezer.

Commenting on the triumph, Harry Stimpson said: “We’re absolutely ecstatic to have won RBS EnterprisingU. The competition this year was incredibly diverse and talented and thanks to everyone who supported us.

“The £25,000 prize money will be spent on marketing and filing a patent for our formulation. We hope you will all follow us on this exciting journey and look forward to seeing you at our launches!”

PetShopBowl, a home delivery pet food subscription service and The Tab, a university student media network, took second and third places respectively, winning £10,000 and £5,000.

Initial submissions for RBS EnterprisingU were made through FIG’s platform, a free-to-use online tool that provides a framework to build and critically assess the viability of entrants’ business plans. The application process and judging criteria are focussed on ensuring businesses and their founders are investible propositions, meaning the competition is centred on discovering the business success stories of tomorrow.

Managing Director of FIG, Mark Hanington, said: “We were overwhelmed by the standard of entries this year and it was very difficult to select just seven ideas for the final. We were looking to uncover real businesses that make investors sit up and take notice, businesses that solve real world problems and businesses with the ability to generate significant returns from solving those problems.

“While LIC, PetShopBowl and The Tab thoroughly deserved to win, all of the finalists have great potential and we will continue to support them all going forward.”

RBS Small Business Chairman, Peter Ibbetson, said: “EnterprisingU is an excellent opportunity for students and recent graduates to demonstrate their business potential in front of high profile investors. Congratulations to all the finalists; I am looking forward to seeing how their business concepts develop.

“The sponsorship of EnterprisingU and the partnership with Find Invest Grow are great examples of RBS Inspiring Youth Enterprise, which helps young people to explore and develop their enterprise potential through leadership, resources, and grant funding.”

Other finalists included Bio-bean, a green energy company turning waste coffee grounds into biofuel, Project Policy a ‘search engine’ for the world’s socio-economic data and My next Tattoo, an online tattoo visualisation tool.

The event was finished with a keynote address from Nick Wheeler, the Chairman of Charles Tyrwhitt Shirts, who said: “Nothing beats the sense of achievement when years of hard work, passion, perseverance, fun (and stress!) finally “morph” into a successful business. Hats off to FIG and RBS for helping so many students to embark on their own incredible journeys. The quality of business in this competition has been extremely high and I have no doubt we have seen some real stars of the future.”

The competition is the second project RBS Group and FIG have collaborated on. The two firms run an accreditation scheme, RBS Enterprising Student Society Accreditation (RBS ESSA) that rewards and encourages entrepreneurship in undergraduate student societies.

To see more photographs from the event, click here.

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