The University of Exeter's Student Startups team. Credit: Emily Appleton Photography

The University of Exeter has celebrated another successful year of student startups and innovation at the Student Entrepreneurship Awards.

The event celebrated student entrepreneurship activities delivered across the university, including the Student Startups programmes, the With Proficiency in Entrepreneurship degree pathway, and the Engineering and Entrepreneurship degree programme.

The Student Startups programme, an extra-curricular offering at the University open to any student who wishes to develop a business idea, has seen 224 core participants this year and has awarded 45 grants to student and graduate-led businesses totalling almost £30,000.

Environmental Impact Award winner Iman Alibeigi. Credit: Emily Appleton Photography

Six exceptional individuals were recognised for their achievements on the Student Startups programmes this year:

  • Business and Management student Tomiwa Adeoye won the Social Impact Award for his venture AfroExeExperience which is bringing Afrobeat and Ampiano live music nights to Exeter for the first time.
  • Iman Alibeigi (PGR Engineering) won the Environmental Impact Award for his venture InfraFund, a blockchain-based crowdfunding platform for renewable energy projects.
  • Engineering and Entrepreneurship student Eleanor Griffin won the Tech Innovation Award for her venture Opas Guides, which uses technology to design and manufacture patient-specific instrumentation for orthopaedic hip surgery.
  • The Rising Star Award was awarded to Lorenzo Satta Chiris for his efforts working on multiple projects this year including the Exeter Entrepreneurs Society.
  • The People’s Choice Award went to Giselle Hegstad in recognition of her positive contribution to the programmes and her willingness to help others.
  • The Spirit of Entrepreneurship Award went to Business and Environment student Ruairi Duignan in recognition of the passion and hard work he’s put into his venture Turbo Zone.

Attendees also heard from student Mattia Vancini, who won an award at last year’s event and gave a keynote speech sharing his journey exploring entrepreneurship and launching his venture Moprinto with graduate co-founder Adam Davidson.

Eleanor Griffin, winner of the Tech Innovation Award and People’s Choice Award Giselle Hegstad. Credit: Emily Appleton Photography

Emily Davies, Head of Student Entrepreneurship said: “It was so special to celebrate the incredible achievements of our student entrepreneurs. And to recognise the deep value and impact that programmes like this can have.  In building confidence and resilience; encouraging enquiry and exploration; developing empathy and creativity; fostering self-refection and self-awareness.”

The event also celebrated the achievements of students who have graduated from the With Proficiency in Entrepreneurship pathway run by the Business School. This year 154 students completed four entrepreneurship modules over the duration of their course to graduate this year with a “With Proficiency in Entrepreneurship” title added to their degree certificate.

Raphael Dennett, Director of the WPIE Pathway said: “We have more students from across different disciplines and backgrounds than ever and all eager and ready to create meaningful impact in their industries. It is incredible to see the next generation of solution givers and challengers to the status quo, launching forward with their ideas!”

Find out more about the Student Startups programmes and WPIE here.

Tomiwa Adeoye winner of the Social Impact Award. Credit: Emily Appleton Photography
Lorenzo Satta Chiris, winner of the Rising Star Award. Credit: Emily Appleton Photography.
Ruairi Duignan, Spirit of Entrepreneurship Award winner. Credit: Emily Appleton Photography