Phil Hodari, an early investor in Graphene, the world’s first 2D material developed by The University of Manchester and reputed to be stronger but more flexible than steel, has been named as a key sponsor and judge of the University Entrepreneurs Challenge (UEC) to be held in April.

He will take his seat alongside the entrepreneur David Taylor, also Pro-Chancellor of UCLan (University of Central Lancashire), who will oversee proceedings as six new businesses, spun out of the North’s University and HE sector, will compete in front of a live audience and jury for a cash prize and mentoring for their early-stage companies.

‘We have 520,000 students across the North 160,000 support staff as well as 25% of the country’s academic staff’

‘Many are bristling with new and exciting concepts which need nurturing, developing and financing to help turn them into tomorrow’s success stories’ said Hodari.

He has also announced that Crystalised (  one of his key investments in the education sector will sponsor the UEC alongside UCLan and The Alliance Manchester Business School’s Enterprise Centre and UMIP The Intellectual Property division of the University of Manchester.

The event is part of the successful Educate – North and UK Leadership Awards and Conference run in association with The Telegraph Media Group and Prolific North. It will be staged on 27th April 2017 at The Hilton Hotel in Manchester.

The UEC was devised by the Broadcaster and former Executive Producer of Granada’s ‘Flying Start’ series which pioneered TV enterprise programmes.

He said; ‘Phil brings enormous real life experience to the table, he knows what it is like to take an idea and turn it into a living breathing enterprise with customers, demands, employees and the odd tax bill to pay at the end of each month or so. That is invaluable as these new companies are showcased in a high profile way. He will join Jenny Stewart of Liverpool and Sefton Chamber of Commerce, an Investment Banker and one other key judge in deciding who will win this prize.’

The firms will be assessed before the judging by David Fleming and his Manchester based team at Duff and Phelps, the US Financial Services Business.

Entries are now open on and more information is available from Georgina Jones at