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Birkbeck entrepreneurs celebrated at Pioneer Pitching and Awards Evening

Birkbeck’s Pioneer Programme finalists pitched their business ideas and celebrated the end of a rewarding year of entrepreneurship development.

Left to Right: Professor Philip Powell, Permsakul Choomduang, Jenna Davies.
L-R: Professor Philip Powell, Permsakul Choomduang, Jenna Davies

On Tuesday 19 June, Birkbeck hosted the Pioneer Pitching and Awards Evening, where six entrepreneurs, all of whom are current Birkbeck students, pitched their business ideas to a panel of experts, competing to win the Best Business Idea category and the Best Business Pitch category.

Permsakul Choomduang, who is studying for his MSc in Business Innovation with Entrepreneurship and Innovation Management, won the Best Business Idea category for his idea, Gaming Masterclass. The business aims to provide face-to-face video gaming masterclasses to inexperienced gamers who want to improve their skills and techniques, through courses designed “by gamers for gamers.”

The prize for Best Business Pitch went to Julia Doncheva (MSc Management) and her business partner, Sasha Conte, for their idea, SCFitness. SCFitness combines personal training and physiotherapy practices to carry out postural and movement assessments, which can then identify abnormalities and support clients with a bespoke plan to address any challenges.

Pioneer is an eight-part course for Birkbeck students who are interested in enterprise and who want to develop their entrepreneurial skills. Jenna Davies, who runs the Pioneer programme, said: “Pioneer provides a fantastic opportunity for students to learn valuable skills that they can use to develop their business ideas or take into the workplace. This year’s cohort attracted some brilliant entrepreneurs who entered the programme’s competition, and our finalists certainly made it a difficult decision for the judges.”

This year, the students presented unique business ideas to address various global challenges including sustainability issues, global fashion value chain, nutrition, and advertising.

The other business ideas were:

  • AdGenX – Ehshan Veerabangsa and James Hill: A real-time nano-targeting advertising solution powered by artificial intelligence, delivering personalised adverts and reducing the need for more expensive creative agencies.
  • FitnessNuts – Robbie Rushton: A nutritional exercise supplement drink that is 100% vegan and ready to consume. It is ideal for anyone who is looking to increase their protein intake before or after a workout.
  • MoonWhite – Moonlie Fong: MoonWhite aims to bring traditional Chinese dresses back into the 21st century with a modern twist. The items of clothing will be sourced and designed in the UK, therefore making it a truly British brand.
  • ZooBerry – Åsmund Berge Jenssen: ZooBerry is a creative media agency providing consulting services to businesses on how best to reach sustainability-aware consumers through high-quality, tailored video content.

Professor Philip Powell, Pro Vice-Master for Enterprise and Innovation, who was one of the judges, said: “I am deeply encouraged by the quality of ideas and solutions provided by passionate, entrepreneurial Birkbeck students. Throughout the workshops, our students have successfully gone from idea stage to take-off, and I look forward to hearing about their future success stories.”

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