21 June 2012
A graduate entrepreneur is being teed up for success, after he won a business ideas competition with a blueprint for a new kind of "performance- enhancing" golfwear.
Kurt de Freitas won Plymouth University's Tectona competition, and will now work with experts based at the institution to help turn his business vision into a potential enterprise.
Full details of Mr de Freitas's business plan are currently under wraps, to protect his potential intellectual property, but he said: "A friend wanted to improve their golf technique, without the monotony of traditional practice or expensive coaching. Over time I began to develop the idea of high-performance sportswear that could help improve someone's golf game and enjoyment on the course."
Mr de Freitas has won a prize package prize which includes £750 cash from Santander, two months of pre-start up support at the university's Formation Zone, a £1,000 Tamar Science Park voucher and an invitation to pitch to investors at the Autumn Forum of the South West Angel and Investor Network (SWAIN).
He said: "I'm delighted to have won – I really didn't go into it for the prize, but for the opportunity to get expert advice on developing my business.
"It was exciting to have confirmation of the potential of the idea, but it's also a little scary to think about the challenges of taking it forward."
The competition runners-up included a social enterprise focused on developing new approaches to supporting dyslexic pupils in the classroom by using the perspective from which they approach challenges as a springboard for success.
Second-year illustration degree student Joanna Larsen-Burnett impressed judges with her vision for a social enterprise devoted to developing educational plans for youngsters with dyslexia, drawing upon on her own experiences.
She said: "Roughly six million people in the UK are classed as dyslexic.
"How many Leonardos or Einsteins are out there and not being given a chance to bring their skills to the table, because they do not have a learning platform which is tailored to capitalise on their visual or spatial thinking? There is a way of valuing what they do, and how they do it."
Students Edward Olivier and Lucy Weal came third, with their green idea for an attachment that could fit to fridge-freezers and monitor their performance – with valuable implications for food safety.
The competition's entrants received financial, legal and patent advice from local and national sponsors to get their business plans into shape.