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GradVenture

GradVenture is the Dragon's Den type competition ideal for early-stage start-ups. This collaboration between The Careers Group, The University of London and Seven Hills has been supporting and encouraging entrepreneurs since 2016. We’ve helped young entrepreneurs refine their business plans, practice pitching and win funding to take those crucial next steps.

Gradventure logo

GradVenture

GradVenture is the Dragon's Den type competition ideal for early-stage start-ups. This collaboration between The Careers Group, The University of London and Seven Hills has been supporting and encouraging entrepreneurs since 2016. We’ve helped young entrepreneurs refine their business plans, practice pitching and win funding to take those crucial next steps.

GradVenture Final is back!

We are pleased to announce the judges and the finalists for our fifth annual GradVenture Final taking place on 7 July 2021, 14:00-15:30. The themes this year are Building Community and Supporting Wellbeing and our finalists have wowed us with the diverse and innovative ways in which they address these themes, as well as their commitment to the social impact of their business ideas.

Six finalists from four member institutions at the University of London will be battling it out to win a stake of the £5000 prize, as well as the hearts and minds of both the audience and the judges. Our six finalists are (in alphabetical order): 

  • Align – City (Neive Augustin)
  • Baby Blues App – QMUL (Elissar Haidar)
  • The Black Queer Travel Guide – Goldsmiths (Paula Akpan)
  • Carers Creative – Goldsmiths (Isabella Akaleigh Jones)
  • GrandNanny – King’s (Adele Aitchison)
  • SoJo – King’s (Josephine Philips)

Michael Hayman MBE, Co-Founder of Seven Hills and StartUp Britain, will be overseeing the proceedings, together with our esteemed panel of judges, made up of:

  • Anna Brailsford, CEO, Code First: Girls
  • Brigette Bard, Founder and CEO, BioSure
  • Kate Daubney, Director, The Careers Group and the University of London’s Centre for Excellence in Careers and Employability
  • Sharmadean Reid MBE, Founder and CEO, Beautystack

We invite you to join us by registering directly on Zoom. You will have the opportunity to be inspired, encourage the next generation of entrepreneurs and vote for your audience favourite.

Download the programme

See also:

You can watch the pitches of last year’s finalists, as well as highlights of the virtual event on our YouTube playlist.

GradVenture 2020 Pitches on YouTube

Previous GradVentures

GradVenture 2020

The event had to be postponed several times and finally got moved online, but our seven finalists demonstrated great resilience and impressed the judges with their enthusiasm, eloquent video pitches and confidence in handling the Q&A. They also won fulsome praise from the audience for their polished overall performance. Michael Hayman MBE, Co-Founder of Seven Hills, moderated the event, dealing with any technical challenges with his usual aplomb and good humour. 

  • Winner First Prize and £8,000 to invest in the business: Sophia with Perspective Press Global from Queen Mary University.
  • Runner-up and winner of £2,000 to invest in the business, from City University: Yamin Miah with Bubble Mind.
  • Audience favourite Leiho, also from City @leiho_uk, Joey Li and Thuta Khin will be enjoying a delicious hamper while they plan their next business moves.

The judges panel consisted of: Charlotte Harrington, Co-CEO of Belu Water; Cecil Adjalo, Director of Operations at Foundervine; Xenia Angevin, Founder, Res Claritas; James Uffindell, CEO Bright Network. They expressed an interest in getting to know all of the finalists’ businesses better, and predicted a bright future for them. For more information about each of the businesses, as well as the judges’ backgrounds, see the attached virtual programme brochure.

Professor Wendy Thomson, Vice-Chancellor of the University of London, said:

Congratulations to everyone involved with making such a success of the first ever virtual GradVenture. I was delighted to be invited to join in the excitement of the finalists’ big day. Well done to all especially Perspective Press Global for taking the top spot. The entrepreneurial spirit is clearly alive and well amongst University of London students. Great ideas, confident pitches, tough choices for the panel of judges. And as always thank you to Michael Hayman and Seven Hills for their support, to the many students who entered the competition, and to the professors who have encouraged and developed business talent. Making London graduates ready for post COVID-19 recovery!

Dr. Kate Daubney, Director of The Careers Group, said:

We are thrilled with how our first virtual GradVenture 2020 has gone and our continued collaboration with Michael Hayman and the Seven Hills team. It was absolutely inspiring to see not only terrific business propositions but each of them in their own way reflecting a really good understanding of the needs of their potential customers and with such a strong focus on social benefit. These ideas were all transformational in their own way and a great indication of a powerful move in young entrepreneurship.

The excitement of being together all in one room and networking over drinks and snacks may have been missing, but the advantage of an online event was that we were able to open up to a truly global audience, with attendees from Germany, India, Singapore, Pakistan, Hong Kong, China, Canada, Italy, Lithuania, Romania and the United States, as well as from all over the United Kingdom.

Thank you to all those involved in the event.

Gradventure 2020 winner

GradVenture 2020 winner

Gradventure 2020 winner received £8000 for the Perspective Press Global idea.

Gradventure 2020 runner up

GradVenture 2020

Runners up 2020 for Bubble Mind.

GradVenture 2020 - Finalists

GradVenture 2020

GradVenture 2020 - Finalists