Students from Newcastle University were today announced winners of the Young Enterprise Start Up competition, sponsored by Santander, beating more than 300 other student companies to the title of Start Up Company of the Year with their golfing company Escalate.
The Young Enterprise Start Up Programme helps undergraduates set up real businesses while studying for their degree. Five Business Management and Marketing Management students from Newcastle set up their company to target the four million plus golfers in the UK. With a former professional golfer on the team, the company developed a waterproof towel to ensure golfers could keep their clubs dry in wet weather and avoid their hands slipping.
The ‘Dry-ver’ towel is protected on one side by a waterproof coating and has been designed to hang from a player’s golf bag so that the waterproof side keeps the cotton side dry. After developing various prototypes the team have now secured patent pending status for their towel and are applying to trademark the name. Escalate plan to market the first batch of towels locally in the North East and are seeking investment to produce the first 1,000 towels via the team’s contacts in China.
Escalate scooped the top award at the Start Up UK finals held at The Guildhall in London on Friday 18 May and will now be travelling to the European Start Up finals in Macedonia in July. They will compete against students from across Europe at the JA-YE Europe Enterprise Challenge 2012.
Faye Longridge, 19, Managing Director of Escalate, said: “We are honoured to be representing the UK and really excited about the chance to compete in Macedonia. The Young Enterprise Start Up Programme has been an amazing experience and we can’t wait to see what the future holds.”
Andy Ayliffe, Regional Manager, Santander Business Banking, one of the UK competition judges, said: “We were incredibly impressed with the creativity and professionalism demonstrated by the student companies, they can all be very proud of themselves. We felt Escalate’s trade stand, presentation and investment proposal shone through and despite the tough competition they were the clear winner.”
Young Enterprise Director Roy Howard said: “More than 2,000 students from 35 universities have taken part in the Start Up Programme this year and set up over 300 fantastic businesses. It shows Britain’s graduates increasingly see entrepreneurship as an attractive career path, which is great news in a recession. I wish Escalate the best of luck at the European finals.”
Escalate also won the Best Presentation award while other winners on the day were:
• Best Investment Proposal - CUFF'D from Kingston University
• Best Display Stand - TheBaggyBlue from Liverpool Hope University