PEEQUAL: The 2021 New Enterprise Competition winners- Growth Stage

PEEQUAL co-founders presenting at an event

It has almost been an entire year since Amber Probyn and Hazel McShane, the co-founders of PEEQUAL, won the New Enterprise Competition (NEC) – Growth Stage. We were keen to catch-up with them, to hear all about their success since winning £15,000 in last year’s NEC competition. 

 

Can you summarise what PEEQUAL is? 

PEEQUAL is the UK’s first free-standing women’s urinal, making it quick, safe, and sustainable for women to pee at events.   

Why did you choose to apply for the NEC last year? 

We applied for 3 stages of the NEC and had been supported by the smaller grants given. We saw the impact the grants had on our development so we wanted to apply for the largest grant which we knew could be a catalyst for our business.  

 What did applying to the NEC do for your start-up? 

Winning the NEC meant we were able to invest in building a working prototype which we could test at festivals and events. This was huge as we were able to get feedback from users and customers, gain credibility and traction which helped us go onto raising investment for manufacturing. The exposure of the NEC award also made a big PR splash and we had 3-4 weeks of constant PR which drove customers to us from all over the world. 

What have you done since winning the NEC last year? PEEQUAL at a festival

We have built the working prototype, tested at 5 events over the 2021 summer and iterated the design as we went. We raised £250,000 of equity investment, have started manufacturing the product, employed 4 members of staff not including the founders and have customers lined up to rent to in our first year of trading. 

 What does the future look like for PEEQUAL? 

We intend to scale up internationally in 2023 as we have global demand for PEEQUAL. As well as this, we are thinking of adapting the design to be appropriate in more markets such as fixed sites e.g. shopping centres or to be helpful in the humanitarian relief sector e.g. refugee camps. 

If you want to take your start-up business to the next level, you too can win up to £20,000 of funding and pro-bon support by applying for the New Enterprise Competition – Growth Stage.  The competition is open to final year students and recent graduates. Applications are open now and close on Monday 30 May. 

 

What is the Foundership Scheme and why should you apply?

Our summer enterprise programme, The Foundership Scheme is back for a second year, running from 8 June to 6 July.

Maybe you have been tempted to apply but are unsure whether it is suitable for you, or you are not sure if your start-up is ready for this next step? Here are all the things you need to know to work out if the scheme is right for you.

1. It’s funded!

You no longer need to choose between having a summer job or working on your start-up. We will fund £1000 each, for up to two co-founders, to successfully complete the scheme. You can use the money to put towards anything that will support your business idea.

2. Stop the imposter syndrome

The Foundership Scheme is best suitable for early-stage start-ups. You might just be starting to explore your idea, be developing a prototype, or need support finding a route to market. If you feel like you are not yet ready for this stage, stop doubting yourself and apply! The only thing we ask is that you have a plan of what you hope to gain and achieve over the four-weeks.

3. Improve your knowledge and skills

Every Wednesday we will have a knowledge workshop led by industry professionals. These will be a mixture of speaker-led and activity-based content to give you the ability to learn, ask questions and put into practice the taught topics to make them real and beneficial for your business. Topics will include creating a business model canvas, motivation and perseverance, creating a minimum viable product and pitching your business.

Season 6 Knowledge GIF by Friends - Find & Share on GIPHY

4. Grow your network

We know that running a business can be a lonely place, that is why we will run weekly connect and learn sessions. These peer-to-peer networking opportunities, will allow you to collaborate with other student entrepreneurs, share challenges and work together to resolve them. Build you support networks for the future, now!

5. Don’t just listen to us, listen to last year’s participants…

“We really enjoyed the vast array of resources and talks as well as being able to share our experiences with other like-minded individuals.”

“The Friday peer group was so helpful and supportive. I was surprised at how helpful it was, but also that I actually had something to contribute, as I was feeling like a real novice at the start of the programme.”

“We applied for Foundership because we thought it would be a good opportunity to meet other student founders, learn and to keep momentum going over summer. It was great for all of those and more!”

So there you have it, five reasons why you should apply for the Foundership Scheme. And if you are still unsure, just remember you’ve got nothing to lose but potentially a lot to gain! Applications close on Friday 20 May.

For more information or for any questions please get in touch with the Basecamp Team, we will be happy to help.

Young Goat: The New Enterprise Competition – Growth stage alumni

GrowthThe Growth stage of the New Enterprise Competition (NEC) is now open for applications. This stage offers up to £20,000 of funding and pro-bon support to help launch, advance, and grow your start-up to realise its full potential. The competition is open to final year students and recent graduates.

We had a catch-up with Young Goat, the 2021 People’s Choice Award winners, to see what they had been up to since winning £2,000 in last year’s competition. (more…)

International Womens Day 2022 – 5 stories of women working hard to #breakthebias

“Imagine a gender equal world. A world free of bias, stereotypes and discrimination. A world that’s diverse, equitable, and inclusive. A world where difference is valued and celebrated. Together we can forge women’s equality. Collectively we can all #BreakTheBias. Celebrate women’s achievement. Raise awareness against bias. Take action for equality.” – tagline for International Women’s Day 2022

Happy International Women’s Day (IWD)! 

We LOVE hearing your stories, and get to hear so many of them through the various activities and programmes that we run here at the Careers Service; The Bristol PLUS Award, SME internship scheme, Bristol Mentors, New Enterprise Competition and much more.

Today, we are taking the opportunity to highlight and acknowledge a handful of brilliant female students and graduates who have helped to #breakthebias by exemplifying the missions of International Women’s Day through their various projects, start-ups, and volunteering activities. Prepare to be inspired!

IWD mission: To shine a spotlight on activity uplifting and inspiring women to pursue goals without bias or barrier

Arooba Hameed, Year 3 Cancer Biology and Immunology (BSc)

Picture of Arooba
Arooba

Arooba completely embodies this mission and recently won £1000 of funding in the Development Stage of the New Enterprise Competition for the non-profit community group she founded, Higher Education for Asylum Seekers & Refugees (HEAR). HEAR aims to support refugees and asylum seekers in accessing educational opportunities through guidance, training, mentoring & advocacy. (more…)

My IKEEP Experience: Beixi’s thoughts on Intrapreneurial training


The IKEEP programme is designed for current students (on undergraduate, postgraduate taught and postgraduate research degrees from all disciplines) to expand their skillset through intrapreneurial training and engage with organisations as business advisors on knowledge exchange projects. (more…)

Last chance to apply for the Ideas stage of the New Enterprise Competition!

The Ideas stage for the New Enterprise Competition is open for applications for another week. For the opportunity to test out your idea by pitching to us and to win up to £200 in equity free funding, what have you got to lose? 

 

We caught up with Shabaj, who created the Success Program, a sports journaling app, which was awarded  funding from the Ideas stage of the Competition last year. 

 

In a nutshell, what is your start-up idea and where did the idea come from?

I’m working on a sports journaling app that allows individuals to track their weightlifting performance and provides customers with a quantitative measure of how their training programme is impacting their performance. Having our customers reflect on what they achieved on their last workout allows them to compete against themselves from one workout to the next.  

The aim of the game is progression, but how can you know if you are progressing if you aren’t tracking your results?

I’m not the strongest person in the gym, by far. Often, if I push myself more than I am physically capable of and I get an injury. I got tired of repeating the same mistake and started to record my workouts in a notebook. However, I got fed up with flicking through the pages to find what weights, reps and sets I should do. I also lost more pens in the gym than most students do in three years at university. So I decided to build an app to think and carry less in the gym.

 

Have you always been interested in entrepreneurship? What inspired you to get into it?

I let my curiosity direct where I put my attention- which has its own set of pros and cons! My journey into entrepreneurship is more self-centred than most. From the projects I worked on, I always had a personal connection with problem I was trying to solve. Since I couldn’t find a product or service that met my needs, I would find out how I can create my own solution. If I have that problem, someone else might too.

Picture of Shabaj who founded the Success Program
Shabaj, founder of The Success Program

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Get funding for your ideas!

The Ideas stage of the New Enterprise Competition has now opened for 2021!

With £200 up for grabs which can go towards supporting you and developing your start-up, what’s to loose? In case you need any more convincing as to why you should submit an application, here are our top three reasons why you should apply.

Boost your start-up knowledge

The Ideas stage of the New Enterprise Competition runs alongside the Start-up Accelerator, which is designed to equip founders with start-up knowledge and the entrepreneurial skillset they need to take them to the next level.

The accelerator comprises of ten workshops which include everything you need to know when starting up, including understanding your customer and pitching your idea. On completing the programme, you’ll also receive an endorsement badge and you’ll have constant opportunities to enhance your network. Apply to take part in the accelerator today as attending these workshops will help you feel ready for you pitch for the competition!

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Enhance your skillset

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The Start-up Accelerator

The Start-up Accelerator is a series of events put on by the Basecamp Enterprise team which are taking part between October and December with the aim of equipping you with an enterprising skillset. This skillset will help you become more employable as well as equipping founders with the start-up knowledge needed for developing their start-up. 

‘’What is an Enterprise skillset?’’ 

You may hear that phrase and think it just applies to those who wish to set up a business. That may not be within your career plans but enterprise skills are still very important. 

Enterprise skills may also be called ‘employability skills’ or ‘soft skills’ and these types of skills are always sought after by employers, yet many candidates overlook their importance. Skills that make up an Enterprise skillset may include the ability to make strategic decisions, working independently and problem solving.   (more…)

Case Study: Find out about Andreea’s journey with IKEEP!

The Intrapreneurial Knowledge Exchange Enterprise Pathway (IKEEP) begins with fully funded training to equip you with the skills to drive innovation and bring fresh thinking to businesses. 

Once you’ve completed your intrapreneurial training, you can apply for a project placement and get the opportunity to take your new skills and help a business solve an innovative challenge. 

 

Andreea Patrunjel, MSc in Computer Science

Andreea Patrunjel, a postgraduate student, studying an MSc in Computer Science at the University of Bristol, took part in the IKEEP programme. She completed IKEEP’s online Intrapreneurial training and went on to apply for and take part in the 4-week project placement. She was matched with a Bristol start-up, Groundwaves, a company which have pioneered some of the most powerful haptic technology, and applied it in a footwear product, fusing the worlds of fashion and technology. 

We caught up with Andreea to hear more about her experience with IKEEP… 

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Case Study: Senmag Robotics’s experience with IKEEP

What is IKEEP? 

The IKEEP Programme consists of high-quality knowledge exchange opportunities, providing fresh perspectives and skills to enable regional businesses to grow while honing the talent of future graduates. 

Students involved will have participated in online training in a range of business areas such as managing innovation, business model development and project management. Student teams are ready to be placed within a company to develop business model solutions, improve market awareness and more! 

Senmag Robotics’s Experience with IKEEP 

Senmag Robotics took part in the IKEEP Programme this year. The student team, matched to this business, carried out market research to evaluate the most suitable markets and potential customers/early adopters for their product. They were also involved in the company’s website design, implementing improvements using HTML and CSS. 

Spyros Lavetiz, the CEO and Co-founder of Senmag Robotics

Senmag Robotics is a Bristol-based start-up and New Enterprise Competition finalist producing affordable haptic feedback technology, which allows a user to physically interact with computer simulations, making environments and objects in AR/VR feel solid. 

Spyros Lavetiz is the CEO and Co-founder of Senmag Robotics and has recently completed his final year of a master’s degree in Electrical and Electronic Engineering at the University of Bristol. 

We spoke to Spyros to find out more about his experience with IKEEP…  

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