2018/19,  Competitions

What’s The Big Idea

Queen’s University Students’ Union celebrates 9 years of student innovation!

Nine years of student innovation were celebrated at this year’s annual Queen’s Students’ Union’s ‘What’s the Big Idea?’ competition!

Run by Enterprise SU of Queen’s Students’ Union and sponsored and supported by Ormeau Business Park, PwC and Queen’s Graduate School, a £2,800 prize pot and 11 awards were presented to 10 student entrepreneurs who boasted exciting and novel business ideas.

The 11 categories included the two prestigious ‘Most Innovative Idea’ and ‘Best Overall Idea’ Awards which both saw the shortlisted participants take part in a surprise 2 minute elevator pitch.

Product Design Engineering students Patrick Swaile, David Beirne, Simon McComb and Ewan Murray stole the ‘Most Innovative Idea’ Award with their lifesaving technology ‘AID First’ for those who suffer from anaphylaxis.

Patrick Swaile said “Our aim is to remove the external variables from an anaphylactic incident. First responders can introduce errors which are often fatal. AID First provides safety and security. The ‘What’s the Big Idea?’ competition provided us with an excellent platform to share our business idea and meet a wide audience of likeminded individuals. The opportunity to pitch our business to a judging panel provided invaluable experience. The feedback from industry professionals will greatly help to further develop our strategy.”

Innovative biosecurity enforcement device ‘Bio Boots’ was the brainchild of Agriculture Technology students Joshua Thompson, Aaron McFarline, Robert Gamble, Chris Sweeny and William McFarland and took home the ‘Best Overall Idea’ Award. The product uses digital technology to offers unique biosecurity on livestock production systems which minimises disease and improves welfare and health.

Patricia McNeill, CEO of Ormeau Business Park, said

“We’re honoured to mark the ninth anniversary of sponsoring the ‘What’s the Big Idea?’ competition. The awards are a barometer of the quality of student entrepreneurship that thrives at Queen’s and each year we’re introduced to ideas that have the potential to be game changing. As many notable global companies have been started by undergraduates, we know that there’s true potential for our applicants to convert their big ideas into big business. Today we celebrate the ideas that have emerged from all the teams that entered this year and we watch in anticipation as they progress to gain traction in the marketplace!”

Russell Donaldson, Research Manager at PwC, said

“It was great to see all the students getting involved so enthusiastically. All who took part had clearly invested a lot of time in their ideas and had a genuine belief in what they were doing. I’ve no doubt we’ll see some very successful entrepreneurs emerging from this group onto the market very soon.”

Victoria Coulter, Enterprise Support Officer at Queen’s Students’ Union, said

“The ‘What’s the Big Idea?’ Awards were a fitting end to a successful first semester at Queen’s by celebrating and rewarding the creativity, innovation and entrepreneurial spirit amongst students and staff across the University. The competition will return again next year, giving another generation of students a chance to develop and showcase their ideas. I for one can’t wait to see the new concepts that will come from our entrepreneurs of the future!”

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