Engineers in Business Fellowship (EIBF) inspires engineering students, graduates and postgraduates to engage with their entrepreneurial instincts.
EIBF works with universities that run enterprise competitions, providing them with a £3,000 prize fund so that they can encourage more engineers to participate in their business competitions and to reward those who develop the most imaginative and viable solutions to real problems.
The EIB prize fund was successfully piloted at the University of Nottingham and then rolled out to the University of Bristol, Kingston University and City, University of London with great success. These early successes led to Lord Sainsbury’s charitable trust, The Gatsby Foundation, granting Engineers in Business Fellowship £700,000 to fund more HEI/FEI competitions over a three-year period.
The expanded prize fund got off to a flying start with 23 universities awarded a £3,000 prize fund – more than £70,000 awarded and there is more to come.
“The expansion from four to 23 universities integrating EIB prizes within their enterprise competitions shows the appetite for the fund and its value to the universities. In 2019, we want to award a further 25 universities and FE colleges a share of £75,000,” said EIBF President, David Falzani MBE.
Paula Gouldthorpe, Entrepreneurship Manager at the University of Hull which recently received a prize fund said: “Our Global Challenge is a module dedicated to all our 2nd year engineering students. This year, 300 students, creating 50 interdisciplinary groups of engineers, will solve current real-world problems. The Engineers in Business competition prize crucially helps highlight the importance of enterprise, entrepreneurial thinking and business acumen of our future engineers – encouraging them to look beyond their technical capabilities. The prize fund provides students with the additional inspiration; for the University it builds upon the careers and entrepreneurship links with our Science and Engineering Faculty and I am hopeful too of some fresh, innovative solutions for social, economic and environmental change.”
Kate Beresford, Head of Membership and Operation, Enterprise Educators UK commented on the EIBF funding: “Our member universities find enterprise competitions to be a really effective way to inspire students, graduate and postgraduates to consider enterprise and entrepreneurship. But funding can be a massive challenge, so we welcome the Engineers in Business Prize Fund and look forward to seeing a wealth of innovative engineering solutions come forward.”
A TASTE OF ENGINEERING INNOVATION
The Engineers in Business Prize Fund has already generated fascinating ideas from teams that comprise engineering students, graduates and postgraduates and here are just two:
Lancaster University – The ‘Quench Spike Free Cup’: The top team in Lancaster University’s competition created the ‘Quench Spike Free Cup’ which is designed to alert the owner if their drink has been spiked or tampered with. The plastic cup uses coloured detection strips within plastic cups to warn of this. As first prize winner the team received £1,750 and a business mentor from the Sainsbury Management Fellowship to support them as they move forward to develop the product and test prototypes.
The remainder of Lancaster University’s £3,000 prize fund went to 2nd prize winner Buddyup; a sports app that would allow users to find sports companions at similar levels of skills and 3rd prize winner Tech Test, a service where users can test new technology over short trial periods before committing to buy their own devices.
City, University of London: E-Mobility Bike: First prize went to a hybrid sharing bicycle system, called E-Mobility Bike, a lightweight half manual and half electric bicycle designed to make city travel easier, healthier and more accessible. Unicorn Electrics, the team behind it, has already secured pilot locations to trial the system and have used the EIB cash prize to perfect their product.
The incentive of the EIB prize fund has enabled City, University of London to increase the level of participation by engineers in its competition by 114%.
Alex Elkins, Head of Entrepreneurship at the university said: “The launch of our EIB competition resulted in an impressive jump in the quality and number of business ideas entered by our engineering students. The EIB support has been instrumental in launching this dedicated award within our broader innovation competition. We are very happy to have had the opportunity to establish this partnership!”