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Blueprint award winners celebrate

Date 19 Oct 2007
Author The Editor

The winners of the UK's leading regional universities business planning competition were announced earlier this week. Each of the three winners left the Hilton NewcastleGateshead with £10,000 to go towards their business as well as help and advice from professionals in their field.

They were:

  • Creativity and Design Award – Fat Controller Media's Douglass Bell and Alex Hodgkinson
  • Science and Technology Award – Osiris Biotechnology's Amy Openshaw and Beth-Marie McDonald
  • Business Award – Freedom Self Drive Horse Box Hire's Dawn Branley

Ten finalists from the five regional universities - Durham, Newcastle, Northumbria, Sunderland and Teesside - battled it out for the big cash prizes.

Douglass Bell and Alex Hodgkinson from Durham University won the Creativity and Design category, which was a brand new category for 2007. Their national youth culture magazine is managed via an online social network. It provides a unique space for undiscovered young artists, photographers, film makers, animators, graphic designers and journalists to combine and promote their talents.

Dawn Branley from Newcastle University won the Business Award with ‘Freedom Self-Drive Horsebox Hire', which allows equestrian enthusiasts to transport their horses to tournaments and championships. Newcastle University's Amy Openshaw and Beth-Marie McDonald won the Science and Technology category as they develop and sell product licenses for specialist breast-milk filters to prevent transmission of diseases such as HIV and TB from mother to child.

Professor Max Robinson of the North East Centre for Scientific Enterprise (NECSE) said: "As ever I have been overwhelmed with the standards of the entries and I have witnessed some very inspiring people on the stage tonight. The winners showed exceptional performance in all areas of their business models, from branding to finance and I wish all finalists the very best of luck in their future business ventures."

Sponsors for this year included ONE Northeast, NStar, Government Office for the North East, Cenamps, Dickinson Dees, Musa Fine Art, Entrust, The bgroup, Marks & Clerk, Baker Tilly, Ward Hadaway and the Entrepreneurs Forum.

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