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Educate North’s business competition discovers hopeful innovators and transforms them into successful entrepreneurs

Author image Published by Chloe Chadwick
Published Date 03.01.2023

“Educate North’s business competition discovers hopeful innovators and transforms them into successful entrepreneurs.” Rob McLoughlin OBE, Founder of the University Entrepreneurs Grant.

The University Entrepreneurs Grant is a business competition that aims to discover a brilliant ‘bright idea’ that could (and has!) lead to transformative new ventures.

We’re honoured to have attracted the patronage of the highly regarded Masood Entrepreneurship Centre at the University of Manchester where their aim is to empower the next generation of entrepreneurs.

Each year business students from across the north compete to be selected to present their business concept during the Educate North Awards ceremony in the hopes of winning the opportunity of winning cash but more importantly, winning the opportunity to be mentored by staff from the Masood Entrepreneurship Centre.

Mohammed Ed Hajj is a great example of how winning the UEG gifts a student the opportunity to network with some of the country’s leading business advisors, attract investment and move from incubating a business idea to the creation of a multi-million pound venture.

Mohammed, has a PhD in Biotechnology and Enterprise from the University of Manchester and entered the UEG in 2021. His company specialises in working on recombinant protein expression and purification from transgenic plants and when he won the UEG, his prize of access to business mentor Tony Walker led to new partnerships. He attracted more than $3 million in investment, has opened city centre offices and created a Lab at the Manchester Science Park.

“The UEG is a great opportunity for budding entrepreneurs to gain valuable experience in selling their idea to investors, creating valuable business relationships at the start of their journey and taking that first step in making their business dream a reality,” said Mohammad.

From its inception in 2016 past winners of the UEG include Chester University’s Big Heritage, an award winning social enterprise connecting museums, schools and communities with the past – Liverpool University’s Farm Urban which is on a mission to transform our cities, towns and organisations into greener, healthier, more inclusive places – and York University’s SkillsForge, software that helps students achieve best practice in postgraduate progression monitoring and supervision, student journey management and skills management.

“The prize includes a cash injection of £1000 which has helped the UEG entrepreneurs to have the confidence to go and fund source elsewhere – but by far the most important aspect of winning is access to experienced and well connected business specialists from The Masood Enterprise Centre,” said founder of the UEG Rob McLoughlin OBE. “With the support from our partners at Smooth Radio there’s also great coverage of the event and it’s a brilliant way for the winners to boost their profiles.”

Last year’s winner Tiarnan Neville from Durham University won with The Open Closet – a platform for students to sell their second-hand clothes to students in the same area. It is similar to that of Depop or Vinted but is focused on quick, in person transactions, all secured online. He went up against Prithveesh Reddy and his company Arcube. In the end they were all winners when Prithveesh hired Tiarnan who now heads their Business Development Department!

Applications for the next University Entrepreneurs Grant will open in January 2023. 

For further information drop Alison ( an email and she’ll keep you updated!

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