Five winning teams begin their entrepreneurship journey with £5,000 funding and entrepreneurship support with the City Launch Lab.
Students and alumni won £25,000 for their startup ideas at CitySpark, the annual entrepreneurship competition hosted at City, University of London.
Over 60 teams signed up to compete and the pitch evening in April saw five entrepreneurship teams win £5,000 each and business support from City’s entrepreneurship arm, CityVentures.
The winning teams were JORG Productions, Mould3D, Skin Couture, Velz and Wealthology. The startups have now become part of CityVentures’ incubator programme Launch Lab, meaning they will receive business support and mentoring in addition to their £5,000 cash prize.
The winning teams successfully pitched their own experiences of entrepreneurship to a panel of three judges who then grilled the participants on the viability of their startup before coming to a decision.
Marius Stancu is an Innovation & Growth Specialist at the government innovation agency Innovate UK EDGE London. Fellow judge Victoria Omobuwajo is the CEO of Sunmo Snack and was last year’s winner of the BBC Gordon Ramsay’s Food Stars 2022. The final judge, Dhruv Khrishnaraj, is the Director and Co-Founder of Student Circus, an international student job search website.
CitySpark hosted a series of workshops in the run-up to the pitch event to teach participants business fundamentals, including how to build a marketing strategy and how to find a first customer.
Haider Shah, Enterprise Education Projects Officer at CityVentures, said:
The winning teams
JORG Productions is a music filming, recording and broadcasting company founded by City student James Russell (BSc Music, Sound and Technology, 2023) and Oliver Granger. Alongside his studies, James has spent his weekends building up a portfolio of clients, working with the BBC, ITV and Apple Music. Their broadcasts include a gala concert at the Cadogan Hall and a rock concert at the O2 Academy in nearby Islington.
“As I approach graduation, I need to invest money into the music recording and sound engineering kit that I had access to from City’s Department of Performing Arts and fully launch the business,” James said. “Speaking to other participants has helped me think about how I will pitch for more clients in the future.”
Benjamin Adegoke (BEng Engineering, 2026) and Alan Clark Guiterrez (MEng Aerospace, Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering, 2026) pitched for funding for their startup Mould3D. The startup uses AI modelling and 3D printing to create moulds that help manufacturers develop product prototypes.
Ben first became interested in 3D printing in secondary school. “As engineers, we’re always coming up with ideas, but we need business support,” he said. “It’s so nice to see we can come to a university and bring these ideas to fruition. We are surrounded by people who are willing to listen to us, to provide funding for our ideas and to help us create something great.”
“Winning funding at the CitySpark pitch feels brilliant,” said Alan. “We are both first-year students, so for the next two years we have the opportunity to study and embark on our entrepreneurship journey at the same time.”
Sarjana Bhatia (BSc Health Management, 2023) pitched for funding for Skin Couture, a subscription-based personalised skincare brand that aims to provide its customers with unique skincare routines sent directly to their homes each month. The products will be made from high-quality, dermatologist-approved ingredients. Her startup won the audience’s popular vote.
“This was the first time I have ever participated in a competition like CitySpark, so it feels surreal to win,” Sarjana said. “Winning this support has given me confidence in myself and my vision and motivation to take my idea to the next level.”
Yehya Al-Khairi (BSc Computer Systems Engineering, 2018) pitched for funding for the consumer travel app Velz, which aims to gamify city exploration and travel. The app guides users through the city, allowing them to choose between must-see tourist attractions or hidden gems and provides recommended journeys.
Yehya valued receiving people’s feedback on the app and plans to invest the funding to “deliver an authentic travel experience in every city.”
Aaron Bains (BSc Economics, 2023) and Jaanki Thakrar (BSc Banking and International Finance, 2023) presented their idea, Wealthology, an online money education platform. The website aims to be a one-stop shop for British and international students in the UK to help them manage their finances effectively and build a strong financial future.
Jaanki and Aaron have been working on their idea for the past six months. “We’re over the moon that the all the late nights of preparation have finally paid off,” Aaron said.
“As two final-year undergraduate students, we feel so lucky to be able to pitch in front of people and we can’t wait for the journey ahead of us,” Jaanki added.