CitySpark Christmas Marketplace highlights entrepreneurial spirit
16 student-led businesses competed at CityBar for cash prizes and the attention of business leaders.
CitySpark is a business idea and venture creation competition run by the CityVentures Team, that helps current students and recent alumni to develop a business idea, test it with potential customers and then make it happen.
The Christmas Marketplace was an upbeat event in which the competitors were given the chance to pitch their businesses and products to the public.
With students from all five of City’s Schools competing, there was a diverse range of products on display, including uses of cutting edge technology alongside traditional media.
One such business was Dub.ai which uses AI to instantly translate the audio of any filmed video
Syed Sherum Bokhari (MSC Artificial Intelligence) said: “I obviously want more ideas, more feedback on my idea, how I’m doing, because there are aspects that you are not looking at and people can provide that valuable feedback for you. It’s also a chance for me to practice my skills in terms of marketing my product.”
CitySpark also showcased endeavours outside of the commercial sphere, with Runners-up, Prospects, a charitable initiative helping support young aspiring footballers who have been dropped from academies restart their career in the sport.
Winner of the overall CitySpark award for achievements in business was Booster, a flavourless all-natural energy mixer in a biodegradable straw for alcoholic drinks that revitalises your body.
Roman Rose (BSc Business Management) said of the cash prize: “The money is actually extremely vital, as now we can begin the testing period immediately. The next step is to go to the night clubs who’ve agreed to test our product and see from there.”
From CityStarters Weekend to CitySpark
The evening was capped off with a talk from Prince’s Trust success story Marc Wileman, Founder of Sublime Science, a business dedicated to making science education fun for children.
Wileman’s theme was ‘how to succeed by failing almost constantly’, and implementing the scientific method in business.The evening’s second runner-up prize went to Kidpin, a creation from previous CityVentures event City Starters Weekend, that helps parents track the location of their young children through a GPS pin.
When asked what was next for their business Leah Mutka (UG Economics with Accounting) said: “It feels like a push for an amazing future. The money will invest me to go into more stalls and events like this and encourage more advertising, get investors and potentially more colleagues. We’re going to go global!”
Taking home the GreenSpark Award was Joey Li and Thuta Khin's (MSc Marketing, Strategy and Innovation), Leiho, a charitable business donating a pair of socks to the homeless for every pair they sell.
The MakerSpark award went to WealthAware a transparent investment service and the People's Champ Award went to Inovat, a fast and easy VAT refund service for travellers.
For more information about entrepreneurship at City check the CityVentures page.