Graduate companies benefit from Springboard seed funding

Ten businesses run by University of South Wales (USW) graduates have shared a total of £23,500 from the Springboard Startup competition.

The fourth round of the competition was open to students graduating from USW in 2019, 2020, or 2021, and who had a new business idea that was already within six months of start-up, or was ready to start trading in the six months following the obtaining of the fund.

Business ideas range from drone surveying and audio engineering to developing goalkeepers and dice storage items for Dungeons and Dragons.

Of the 15 who participated in the competition, 10 were shortlisted to make video presentations to the jury. The jury was chaired by Richie Turner, Director of Startup Stiwdio, and included Jonny Jones, Student Enterprise Manager at USW; Ian Cooke Tapia of Cooked Illustrations, who is the longest-serving member of the Cardiff Stiwdio; and Millie Sutherland O’Gara, who was a USW springboard intern and is now a project manager for the USW independent agency.

As part of the process, priority was given to applications from graduate start-ups or freelancers who demonstrated evidence of an innovative business idea with a proven market or customers, showed the likelihood of growth, lived in Newport or in the Gwent Valleys or would seek to be based in new Newport or Treforest Stiwdios, and clearly showed the need for funding.

It was also the first year that the maximum grant of £5,000 was awarded, with Geospatial Environmental Solutions (GES), which is led by USW School of Computing and Mathematics graduate Mitchell Eboigbe, the recipient.

“This award strengthens GES to implement reliable and cost effective use of drone cameras and image capture models for accurate, higher resolution and interactive digital images, maps and plans,”

said M. Eboigbe.

“GES will now collaborate with government agencies, research groups and other private environmental agencies for outreach and marketing purposes.”

Following the announcement of the winners, Richie Turner added:

“This is the largest set of startup awards we’ve ever given, showing that the number of high-caliber graduates with big business ideas is growing year over year at USW.”

The Tremplin funding winners were:

  • Mitchell Eboigbe – £5,000 – Geospatial Environmental Solutions.
  • Sullie Burgess – £3,500 for video ad development.
  • Jordan Powell – Powell Audio – £3,000 for independent audio engineering.
  • Chloe Withers – TeaKind – £2,500 – to focus on mental health awareness.
  • Lewis John – Smart Goalkeeper – £2,500 for holistic goalkeeper development.
  • Ioan Raileanu – Wall Art For All – £2,000 to provide wall art for adults in residential settings.
  • Luke Weston – £2,000 for the VR production studio.
  • Courtney Goddard – £1,500 for creative fashion and product photography.
  • Chrystian Adach – LilBlacksmith – £1000 for dice storage items for Dungeons and Dragons.
  • Veefad Ventures Limited – £500 to develop The BAME Community Voice magazine.

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