A COST-EFFECTIVE advertising service and a power generation company have been named winners of the coveted Blueprint Awards.
The awards, backed by Procter & Gamble and Dickinson Dees, saw students, graduates and staff from the universities of Durham, Newcastle, Northumbria, Sunderland and Teesside compete against each other to present the most compelling business plans to business experts.
The Business Award was won by Uni Car Ads, of Newcastle, which places adverts on private cars in densely populated student areas. This firm, which places advertisements on student cars that are strategically parked on popular student walking routes, also scooped the Creativity and Design Award.
The Knowledge Transfer Award went to Galip Akay and Ed Brown of Newcastle University for their process which can be used as an agricultural catalyst and in bio-science.
Although the number of entries this year had been lower than in previous years, judges felt that the quality of the entries were extremely high.
Jill Flowers, competition co-ordinator, said: “After conducting research into past finalist entries earlier this year, I was able to identify an impressive 46 active businesses, which I feel is testament to the commitment and support provided by our sponsors in making the North East a region where business can succeed and, furthermore, thrive.
“Without the continued commitment and support from the region the Blueprint competition would not be the asset that it is today. Both sponsors and colleagues at the five North East universities have played a fundamental role in shaping the Blueprint process, one that is held in high regard by past finalists as well as business communities, local and nationally.”
Finalists took part in a practice pitch event, where they received constructive feedback from competition sponsors and supporters, all of whom possesses business knowledge and expertise from a variety of backgrounds. They were then offered a further opportunity to gain professional advice on their plans and pitches after being paired up with business mentors in the lead up to the grand final.
The Blueprint competition is widely recognised for its contribution to the region’s business growth and employment. Sean Nicolson, partner and head of technology at Dickinson Dees, said: “The Blueprint competition has shown over many years that it has an important part to play in supporting the formation of high-growth technology businesses from the North East’s universities.
“A great example of the competition’s benefits is Durham Graphene Science, a former winner of our Knowledge Transfer prize.
“The company has since received significant venture capital investment, and is now at a very exciting stage in its development.
“The region’s universities are at the forefront of advances in a wide range of technologies and the Blueprint competition provides an excellent focal point to help translate world-leading research into world-renowned companies.”