My SME Internship: Yanan – Bristol Braille Technology

A photo of YananHi, my name is Yanan. 

It was my great honour to undertake a two-month internship at Bristol Braille Technology (BBT) under the SME Internship Scheme. My position at BBT was Braille and Employment Researcher Intern. My main duty was to conduct research on how braille promotes employment and improves the lives of the visually impaired. My work was mostly done remotely. 

Working for BBT, I learned workplace etiquette and gained lots of new skills, including working to a high standard. As a non-native English speaker, my English has improved tremendously during this internship. My colleagues and supervisors are all native English speakers, and, frankly, it was a little difficult for me to keep up with them when I first started my internship. I quickly got over this problem with a lot of English practice.

Bristol Braille Technology logo.
Bristol Braille Technology logo.

At the same time, the research skills I learned at university came in handy and my time management skills have also been enhanced. This valuable experience has laid a solid foundation for my future career. 

All in all, as a visually impaired person, I have benefited a lot from this internship, it really boosts my CV and I have become more confident. At work, I didn’t feel any discrimination and I wasn’t treated differently from anyone else. I sincerely hope that more of my peers will benefit from this scheme in the future.  (more…)

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.

The Outstanding PLUS Awards: Honourable Mentions

The Outstanding PLUS Awards launched this year, celebrating Bristol PLUS Award achievers in 8 different categories for going above and beyond and making outstanding contributions to their PLUS Award activity. 

We received an outstanding 109 nominations across the 8 categories, and our judges were impressed by the breadth of activity and skills of the nominees. Whilst there can only be one winner per category, the judging panel awarded a number of Honourable Mentions to nominees who also submitted outstanding nominations! So, allow us to introduce you to this year’s Honourable Mentions… 

Better World  

Brief: Tackle global challenges in a local or global context, making a better world in a big or small way 

A photo of Anthony
Anthony Salandy, Year 3 Sociology BSc

Anthony Salandy 

Anthony co-founded Fahmidan journal as well as Fahmidan Publishing & Co which publishes work by writers of colour and women exclusively, to address underrepresentation in literary publishing.  (more…)

Outstanding PLUS Awards: Meet the Winners 2021/22!

 

The Outstanding PLUS Awards give Bristol PLUS Award achievers the chance to nominate themselves for going above and beyond and making outstanding contributions to their PLUS Award activity.  

In this launch year, we received 109 nominations across 8 categories and now, we’re thrilled to introduce you to this year’s winners!  

These 8 students were selected by the judging panel for meeting the brief in their category, and showing a truly outstanding contribution to their role.

Better World  

Brief: Tackle global challenges in a local or global context, making a better world in a big or small way 

A photo of Antonia, smiling
Antonia Voigt, Year 1 Education (PhD)

Antonia Voigt

Antonia worked on a research project tackling barriers to secondary education in the Asia Pacific region. She helped to bring together academics, international organisations and local practitioners across the Global North-South divide to foster partnerships and share knowledge!  (more…)

Meet our finalists! targetjobs Undergraduate of the Year Awards 2022

The targetjobs Undergraduate of the Year Awards is an annual competition aimed at finding the best undergraduates in the UK.

There are 10 Awards on offer and each one is partnered with a prominent graduate recruiter who provides a fantastic prize for the winner including paid internships, trips abroad and other exclusive opportunities.

To have made it to the final stage for the award is an incredible achievement, each award this year had 100s of applications and finalists made it through the initial application, psychometric tests, interviews and assessment centres.

We are very proud to introduce *Drum roll please* our 4 fantastic University of Bristol finalists:

(more…)

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…)

My SME Internship: Alex – Senmag Robotics


Greetings from a second-year Electrical and Electronic Engineering student. My name is Alex and I completed a month-long SME internship for the company Senmag Robotics. A photo of Alex smiling.

I was tasked with coding demos using the Unity game engine. The demos showcase the functionality and potential applications of the device that the company is developing.

In short, this device is meant to give you three-dimensional precise control and haptic feedback. This allows you to feel virtual objects and effects as if they are physically present.

I carried out my internship remotely, but I did receive a VR headset and one of their devices to play with (and by play, I of course mean responsibly troubleshoot newly written scripts and test added features!). (more…)

Aamir: Barista, Volunteer, Bristol PLUS Achiever!

This year, 1,700 students signed up for the challenge of the Bristol PLUS Award, giving their CVs a boost and reflecting on the value of their extra-curricular experiences.  

We caught up with Aamir Mehmood, 2nd Year Biology BSc, who achieved his PLUS Award back in January, to find out how he built up his 70 hours experience!

A photo of Aamir, smiling
Aamir Mehmood, Bristol PLUS Award Achiever 2021-22

‘I have found out I am a lot more resourceful and resilient than I thought. I’m proud to have discovered this through my PLUS award experience’ 

 

Aamir achieved his 70 hours through working a part time job as a barista, and volunteering at Brandon Hill as a gardening volunteer.

‘I wanted to volunteer locally and find something where I could really make some difference, helping other members of my community keeping Brandon Hill pristine and looking its best was the most fun opportunity I found.’ (more…)