May 5, 2017

Venturing Further in 2017 with student entrepreneurs in Manchester #VentureFurther

venturefurtherVenture Further is a business startup competition that awards £50k of prize money to eight student entrepreneurs in Manchester. Running annually, #VentureFurther showcases the enterprising talent of students and graduates of the University of Manchester in four themed categories: Business, Research, Digital and Social. Here is a quick summary of results from the 2017 competition, now in its twelfth year.

This year there were were 16 finalists selected from a total of 73 entries. I was pleased to be invited to judge on the panel for the digital category, which saw some impressive and well polished business propositions. It was really was hard picking the winners!

The awards ceremony and dinner were held in the Whitworth Hall and attended by members of the North West business community. After a keynote from Dale Murray CBE on her distinguished career as an entrepreneur and angel investor, the awards were announced as follows:

Business category: Commercial potential for new products or services

First prize: Eleanor Trimble, Siddharth Kohli, Mohammed Abdulaal, Meera Dulabh, and Dr Alex Casson for Neurolytics, working on biometric data analysis

Second prize: Amir Khorasani and Mohammad Hajhashem for Russell Food Group’s Locally Sourced, a farming supply chain disruptor.

Runners-up: Bilal El Sayed and Benedict Vardey for UWispa a mobile phone case and Crystal Bromwell for Wardrobe in the City a clothing-rental subscription service

Research category: Businesses that focus on the application of university-based research

First prize: Salman Malik and Muftau Akanbi for Microspray Technologies enabling industrial and research scale particle manufacture using aerosols.

Second prize: Denis Bandurin and Alexander Obraztsov for GrapheX, developing portable x-ray sources with graphene-based cathodes.

Runners-up: Mohammad Nazmul Karim and Shaila Afroj for 2DTronics wearable e-textiles and Niall Coogan and Barry Johnston for Cable Coatings a novel low cost method to boost electricity grid capacity.

Digital category: Businesses that apply digital technologies

First prize: Rishabh Jindal for Otterly a food ordering service

Second prize: Michal Wisniewski and Edmund Moore for Simple terms crowdsourcing and gamifying recruitment.

Runner-up: Mubashshar Rahman, Jonathan Tang and Ali Ibrahim for HollaMe a student services exchange and Caleb Conner for SpareSpace Airbnb for luggage

Social cateogory: Businesses that improve the lives of people and communities

First prize: Duncan Swainsbury, Eve Chancellor, Jessica Stalmach, Ashton Coates and Neil Stewart for Bounceback Education a ‘buy one, donate one’ tutoring service giving disadvantaged students access to free tuition.

Second prize:Kathryn Pierce for Somewhere MCR CIC a social enterprise supporting the LGBT community.

Runner-up:Salman Malik and Jamshed Malik for Second Shave Barbers CIC a barbershop for homeless people and Hamza Arsbi and Farah Abu Hamdan for The Science League an educational platform

Congratulations to all the finalists, making it to the final 16 is an achievement in itself. Thanks goes to

If you would like to get involved in the next round of the Venture Further competition in 2018, as competitor, sponsor or supporter see the Venture Further website and details of the 2017 competition on LinkedIn.

June 28, 2006

Marginal Power

Filed under: Uncategorized — Duncan Hull @ 11:03 pm
Tags: , , , ,

Garage doorLISP Hacker and Painter Paul Graham writes entertaining essays about technology. His latest piece, discusses how important and sometimes lucrative ideas usually come from the “garage” outside rather than the inside, what he calls The Power of the Marginal. His essay rambles a bit in places, but has some interesting observations that are relevant to bioinformatics. For example…

“…if you’re an outsider you should actively seek out contrarian projects. Instead of working on things the eminent have made prestigious, work on things that could steal that prestige.”

Paul did a PhD in Computer Science and has fond memories of being a student which will ring true with anyone who has been there:

“That’s what I remember about grad school: apparently endless supplies of time, which I spent worrying about, but not writing, my dissertation.”

PhDs and obscurity go hand-in-hand and according to this essay, obscurity and marginality is good for you. It doesn’t taste as good as junk food but is allegedly “good for you”. Pauls personal choice of marginality is the relatively obscure language called LISP, and the people I’ve met who use this langugage are either crazy or at the top of their game, sometimes both. Does LISP turn people crazy or are crazy people attracted to the obscurity of LISP?

Either way, Paul Grahams occasionally crazy essays are worth a read if and when you have a moment to spare. Even better, read them when you don’t have the time and are procrastinating writing your PhD thesis or next Bioinformatics paper.

Further reading

  1. Structure and Interpretation of LISP programs
  2. Most grad students are stuck on problems they don’t like
  3. Startups and garages in bioinformatics: The effect of software patents
  4. Garage Genomics and bio-hackers
  5. Lisp as an Alternative to Java by Peter Norvig, Director of Research at Google

Blog at WordPress.com.