The Grad Factor 2014 – A word from the CEO

The Grad Factor, in partnership with Barclays, is the UK’s first and only Government-backed National televised student enterprise Awards competition. 2014 marked the inaugural year of the annual competition.

From entries received all over the UK we had twenty two different Universities represented. Following, I went on to chair a total of 66 Pitch Auditions across three separate regions across the country, meeting with selected enterprising students for one-on-one 15-minute interviews. 16.5 hours in total but probably more like 20 over the three days inclusive.

One thing that stood out from this year was the gender split between entrants: 76% were male as opposed to 24% female. A statistic I will actively endeavour to improve going into 2015 to see more equality in our pool of enterprising students across Britain.

The Grad Factor FINALISTS. Ultimately, after what was a truly fantastic Campus day event for all involved, our Barclays representatives and the GradFactor Enterprises team came together to judge and decide on the Final 5 Grand Finalists. These were as follows:

Nikolay Vasilyev & Viktor Potapov: Unius – Cass Business School


Scott Kennedy, Fergus Moore, Rebecca Richardson and Rachael Reid: Revive – University of Strathclyde


James Popper & Chris Goodfellow: Sinclair Fire – University of Cambridge


Tosin Afolabi, Oluwatosin Afolabi, Emmanuel Abiola, Ipalibo Whyte, Stephen Sowole & Dipo Areoye: Slang – University of Nottingham


Henry Ludlam, William Young, Oliver Lee, Ludwig Schwarz, Annabel Lake, Adelani Ayoola, Joey Clover & Tom Canning: Team First – University of Manchester


Each Finalist became an instant Award winner for making the Final, and picked up a donated prize from our 5 partnering organisations.

The Grad Factor Grand Final showcased 5 outstanding student business start-up finalists who faced the ultimate test – a judging panel of industry experts who came together to choose the overall winner, with the help of the watching audience. Our Grand Finalists represented the following Universities:

The winners, SINCLAIR FIRE (University of Cambridge), were fantastic. The Founder, James Popper especially, was exemplary throughout the competition. The Sinclair Kitchen Fire Detector uses proprietary infrared flame detection technology, and can detect fires rapidly with a near-zero false alarm rate. This reduces response times on average by 2 minutes compared to a heat detector, putting fewer lives at risk and leading to 30% less fire damage. In short, The Grad Factor winning student start-up business is a product that actually saves lives.

The Grad Factor 2014 Winners: Sinclair Fire
From Left to Right: Zoe Smithson (Barclays), Chris Goodfellow (Sinclair Fire), James Popper (Sinclair Fire), Keith Chaplin-Mabbutt (GradFactor Enterprises)


Sinclair Fire

From Left to Right: Chris Goodfellow (Sinclair Fire), Zoe Smithson (Barclays), James Popper (Sinclair Fire)


The Grad Factor 2014: Judges

From Left to Right: Carrie Green (Female Entrepreneur Association), Keith Chaplin-Mabbutt (GradFactor Enterprises), Zoe Smithson (Barclays), Ian Barratt (GradFactor Enterprises), Umesh Kumar (Pi Labs), Cassandra Harris (VentureSpring)


The Grad Factor 2014: Finalists & Winner with Judges


Sinclair Fire: The Grad Factor 2014: WINNERS

From Left to Right: Chris Goodfellow & James Popper (Sinclair Fire)


The Grad Factor competition hopes to become the biggest and best annual student enterprise competition in the UK. All five Finalists performed fantastically well in the Final and were a huge credit to themselves. The ultimate winners of The Grad Factor, Sinclair Fire, from The University of Cambridge, were particularly outstanding. With the feedback already received, it is clear The Grad Factor has been a memorable occasion for all those who entered and took part and I am delighted to have begun our journey of backing great businesses across Great Britain in such terrific fashion.

Thank you to everyone who entered this year’s competition.

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