Friday 22 October 2004

The North East Universities' Business Planning Competition

Blueprint University Business Planning Competition - Finalists Meet Face-to-Face Ahead of Grand Final

Winners from the Blueprint North East universities business planning competition are preparing for their final submissions for the Grand Final which will be judged later this month and the overall winner announced at a fitting finale on Thursday 28th October at the Gosforth Park Marriott Hotel.

In advance of the Grand Final, winners from Teesside, Northumbria, Durham, Newcastle and Sunderland universities gathered for a photocall in Newcastle's Exhibition Park where they met each other face-to-face for the first time.

The competition's coordinator, Professor Max Robinson, Enterprise Education Manager at the North East Centre for Scientific Enterprise (NECSE), says: "This gathering represents some of the finest entrepreneurial talent coming out of the North East's five universities.

"It is fitting that they came together for the first time in advance of the Grand Final among the park's saplings and mature trees which, in a simplistic way, is a strong metaphor for what we want to achieve through Blueprint - a competition that is designed to support innovation and create an environment in which tomorrow's future business leaders and gurus can flourish and grow."

Individuals, companies and the universities represented are (from left to right):

(Finalists not pictured - Onisoft from Teesside University, Kidstuff from Sunderland University and Molecular ID Systems from Newcastle.)

blueprint finalists

As the Grand Final approaches, Blueprint continues to fire the imagination of local companies with offers of sponsorship and support coming from all sections of the business community.

NEL, the region's premier fund management firm, has committed its support. Duncan Lowery, fund manager for Insight Capital, the firm's specialist venture capital division, says: "Insight has been providing venture capital (VC) to the Universities in the North East over the past four years and has been the most active VC firm in the North East for over 10 years. We have provided equity finance to a number of University spin out companies and collaborative projects, across a range of technologies and sectors.

"It is our belief that initiatives such as Blueprint form a foundation of entrepreneurship from which the management teams of the future will emerge. Therefore, it is imperative that the students of today have the opportunity to gain solid experience of the commercial sector as well as attaining high levels of Academic accomplishment. Blueprint provides an excellent environment to do just that and as such we are delighted to be involved as an official sponsor."


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