Contenders do battle in China UK Entrepreneurship Challenge

Semi-finalists at the event

02 July 2015

Teams from universities across the country arrived in Lancaster to battle it out in the semi-final of the eighth China UK Entrepreneurship Challenge.

The Dragon’s Den-style event held at LUMS saw eight semi-finalists each make a fifteen-minute presentation on their business proposal, before answering questions from a panel of five judges in the hope of securing a place in the final.

Projects varied greatly and included an online tea subscription service, new bio-science and medical products, an online English teaching service and an online fashion retailer.

The event was opened by Consul and Head of Education Mr Wang Ying and Professor Ellie Hamiliton, Associate Dean of Engagement.  

After intense competition, the four successful teams to make it through to the next round are ChaTale from University College London, MicroFlo from Cambridge, QSORB from Ulster University, Warwick University and Aston University, and ZymeDeal from Imperial College London.

The four will compete in the final, to be held at the Bank of China HQ in London on Thursday, 9th July. The finalists will share £13,000 in cash prizes and could gain investment for their projects.

The semi-final judges were director Professor David Brown; Nathalie Cachet-Gaujard from the China Britain Business Council; Mike Cain, managing director of Demo Pad; Nick Burd, programme director of Lancaster China Catalyst Programme; Kegang Wu, executive director of Link to China; and Richard Baguley, managing director of GDR Public Relations.

Professor Brown, who chaired the judges, said: “From an original field of 74 entries, the semi-finalists have done extremely well to get this far.  All the judges commented on the quality of the presentations and business plans.

"It is our eighth year and the standards continue to rise. This international competition has become a popular and valued entrepreneurship opportunity for students.”

The China UK Entrepreneurship Challenge, which is sponsored by the Confucius Institute, aims to bring about new business ideas and start-ups focussed on developing commercial relationships between China and the UK. It was set up in 2008 by Lancaster University and the China Innovation and Development Association and today the university partners include UCL, UEA, Edinburgh and Northumbria.

A parallel competition is hosted in China by Chongqing University and the finalists from both countries will meet for a celebration in China in December 2015.