Wolfson Enterprise Competition offers head-start to start-ups

Artificial intelligence, healthcare, and social work proposals are among the exciting entries for the Wolfson Entrepreneurs' Society’s (WES) first-ever Wolfson Enterprise Competition. 

Wolfson Enterprise Competition 2021

The competition – which is open to all Cambridge University students and alumni – opened in January and closes to submissions this Friday, 19 March. 

It invites start-up ideas from teams of two or more people from across the Cambridge community, “whether you are a postgraduate thinking about commercializing research, a first-year Undergraduate interested in trying your hand at conceiving a business plan, or an alumnus currently pursuing a more advanced start-up venture.”

£1,000 prize and investment opportunities on offer

Winning entrants from the first stage will be invited to submit full pitching materials for review by the Panel of Judges, which comprises successful entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, and executives with diverse professional backgrounds.

In the final stage, the teams will pitch directly to the Panel at an online event, which will be open to anyone to watch. 

A prize of £1,000 will be awarded to the winning team to help support the launch of their project, but all teams with promising projects have the potential to meet and explore investment opportunities with interested partners as well as benefit from mentorship. 

WES: a society pushing forward new ventures

The Wolfson Entrepreneurs Society (WES) is led by a committee of nine undergrads and postgrads from varied fields. It was founded in 2019 by David Izuogu, Chemistry PhD student, with help from Wolfson Fellow, Michael O'Sullivan, toward increasing the level of support for Wolfson's entrepreneurial students and alumni. 

The society's main activities include inviting guest speakers for online talks and panel discussions, hosting the new Wolfson Enterprise Competition, and providing a platform to facilitate interaction between current students, alumni, mentors, and potential investors. 

The current WES President is Thomas Desombre, a second-year Political Science undergraduate. 

“WES has been stirring activity,” says Thomas. “Several committee members are moving forward with their own ventures, including David [Izuogu], who is currently working on the development of an anti-counterfeiting technology with partners across Cambridge. Additionally, many Wolfson alumni who have successfully developed their own ventures are now involved with WES as competition judges or mentors; the aim of launching this competition as an annual event is to encourage such future initiatives.”

Providing a permanent resource for Wolfson entrepreneurs 

Thomas is excited by the early interest in the first Wolfson Enterprise Competition, and credits the help of inventor and entrepreneur, Dr Ronjon Nag:    

“The competition offers a means of more directly connecting the existing network and resources of the Wolfson community with members engaged in entrepreneurial projects, for their mutual benefit, making it a natural next step for WES. This idea was set in motion by David [Izuogu] over the summer and it has especially been supported by Dr Ronjon Nag, a Wolfson alum, who is not only joining as a judge but also sponsoring the prize and giving a series of seminars to support entrants.” 

Thomas now wants to see WES – and the competition – become an ongoing resource for entrepreneurs at Wolfson and across the Cambridge community.

“What I find most encouraging about WES is the broad interest and support shown by alumni and many others within the WES network, which creates constructive engagement. My ambition for WES is to see it become a permanent resource at Wolfson which not only provides a clear and useful point of contact for entrepreneurially minded members across its community, but actively connects their unique needs and contributions to permit mutual assistance.”

If you’d like to take part in the competition, you can submit a project on the WES website. You can view the full eligibility requirements here. 

You can also still register as a mentor for the competition on the WES website.