Essex Startups – supporting our budding entrepreneurs

“Our amazing entrepreneurs at Essex can win investment in their business ideas!”

Hi, I’m Claire – Enterprise Project Officer with Essex Startups, and this year’s Southend Bootcamp is one of the reasons why I love working with Essex Startups! I have the privilege to be involved in wonderful events where I get to engage with students addictive enthusiasm and energy and witness them generating entrepreneurial flare.

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Business Model Canvas Workshop – Day 1


This year saw the Essex Startups team take the annual ‘Big Pitch’ Bootcamp event to the Southend Campus.

Taking a different approach to the Colchester Bootcamp, in order to pitch for investment in their business idea, everyone had to first attend phase 1: a Business Model Canvas Workshop in early March.

There was a fantastic turn out with 8 teams of students taking part in the event.

Building a business plan


I delivered the Business Model Canvas Workshop and gave the overview of what would be expected of the students and recent graduates to pitch for the £1000 investment.

Using the Business Model Canvas framework, a one page business plan, each team worked through their ideas to identify key aspects of their business such as customer segments, revenue streams and value propositions.

Each team discussed their ideas with other teams and gained some feedback and encouragement which was incredibly valuable and they displayed wonderful teamwork skills.

Over to Essex entrepreneurs

The ideas that the teams came up with were fantastic and varied, including: a ‘build your bucket list’ service, a bespoke underwear company, a community bakery network focused on reducing food waste, a sports network offering mentoring and coaching, a social network memory bank and a music promotion platform.

It really was very inspiring and I was so impressed.

After a long day everyone had a clear idea of how to move forward with their business ideas and I sent them off with the instruction to send us the completed Business Model Canvas if they wanted to take part in the Bootcamp and pitch for £1000 investment.

Business in a box – Day 2

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The Business Model Canvasses from all 8 teams were submitted and all qualified to take part in the Bootcamp later that month and to pitch their ideas to the judges. Hurray!

In the morning session our Essex Startups Enterprise Officer Christine explained all of the elements that were required for the ‘Business in a box’ presentation at the end of the day.

The teams worked on writing an elevator pitch, their mission statement, outlining marketing channels and identifying an ideal client avatar.

Mentors meet Essex entrepreneurs

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We had some wonderful mentors who came along to help the students with their ideas including Essex University staff and external business owners, Tom Haward who owns pop up restaurant business Toms Salty Shack and Emily Lister owner of Evocative Marketing shared their valuable expertise.

The afternoon saw them compiling their ‘Business in a box’ using the information they had put together. The ideas were then clearly displayed on their boxes and they prepared to present to the judges to win the £1,000 investment.

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Christine and I were so proud of everyone – they did extremely well and had some great ideas. It made it a very difficult decision for the judges, so difficult in fact that it was decided that we should award a second investment of £500.

And the winners are…

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It was agreed after much deliberation to award the £1000 to Harry Smith’s ‘Hoistability’ – a business which will provide portable hoists to aid disabled people get in and out of vehicles.

The £500 went to Piotr Pawarski’s ‘Stage Pro’ which is a company that will supply stage equipment to students starting out with theatre companies. The judges felt both ideas stood out and were beautifully presented.

We could clearly see both the passion behind the idea and the viability in the businesses and we agreed they definitely deserved investment from the University.

The event was a great success and we at Essex Startups would like to thank all who participated and offer sincere congratulations to our winning students. Here’s looking towards the next Essex Startups Bootcamp in Colchester in June.

Get involved

If you’d like to get involved with Essex Startups, like our Facebook page to discover what amazing opportunities we offer here at Essex University.




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