The shortlist has been announced for this year’s University Entrepreneurs Challenge (UEC) which pits spin–out businesses from Northern Universities against each other for new investment in their early stage companies. 

SkillsForge from The University of York was the 2017 winner and now five new entrants face each other. In a new development,  the ‘pitching’ session to four leading judges will be filmed for the first time and released on Prolific North and other key websites ahead of the results being announced at The Educate-North Awards on 26th April 2018 at The Radisson Blu Hotel in Manchester  

“We’ve had a high standard of entries this year,” said founder of the UEC, Broadcaster  Rob McLoughlin OBE. “It demonstrates just how important universities are in developing, encouraging and creating the entrepreneurs of the future – the drivers of British business.”

The 2018 shortlist includes:

The Literacy Company (University of Chester) - a team of experienced and dedicated consultants who share a passion for English and deliver training to teachers and in-school support to develop and enhance the teaching of reading, writing and spoken language. 

unit3 design (Liverpool John Moores University/ University of Liverpool) - a multi-disciplinary design studio which delivers unique, contemporary and inspiring design solutions. Predominantly architecture, unit3 also offers complimentary services such as graphic and 3D design, model making and visualisations.

Red Pencil Productions (University of Central Lancashire - UCLan) who produce promotional video content for online brands and TV adverts. 

Maths of the Day ) - an on-line resource which provides teachers and teaching assistants with lesson plans and resources on how to deliver the primary maths curriculum through physical activity. The aim is to help raise children’s attitudes and attainment in maths through fun, exciting and engaging active sessions. 

AlgoLib (University of Liverpool) – providing access to the world’s most comprehensive algorithm marketplace, run seamlessly on the cloud. Using our platform; data scientists, analysts and developers from around the world can upload their work for free and set the price for every time someone else wants to use.

“The pitching event will this year be filmed at The Sharp Project, a brilliant venue for us as it’s home to more than 60 digital entrepreneurs and production companies specialising in digital content production, digital media and TV and film production,” explained Rob. “The film will then be made available on several websites including those of Smooth Radio in the North West and North East and Heart in Yorkshire.”

A shortened version will also be shown at the Educate North Awards at the Radisson Blu Edwardian on April 26, when the UEC winner will be revealed. Supported by Prolific North and Communicorp UK, owners of The Ministry of Results, Heart Yorkshire, Smooth North West and Smooth North East  the Educate North Awards are a prestigious event celebrating, recognising and sharing best practice and excellence in the education sector.

The UEC is this year being supported by The University of Central Lancashire (UCLAN), technology solutions specialists The Pilot Group and global financial services company Duff and Phelps.

“This is a unique inter-university competition and it’s important we support these early-stage companies because they could become the powerhouse businesses of the future,” said Duff and Phelps's Manchester-based managing director, David Fleming. “The UEC gives the companies a benchmark to test their strategy, plans and ideas as well as offering promotion and of course, potential investment for their enterprises.”