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University hosts national competition supporting business start-ups

University of Gloucestershire is proud to support the national Ingenuity Impact competition as a West of England host for a second year running.

The Ingenuity Programme exists to tackle the UK’s major social and environmental challenges through the creation of impactful new start-ups. After presenting business plans and pitching to an expert panel, winners receive enterprise training and seed funding to help them develop their social enterprise idea.

Start and Grow Enterprise, a University of Gloucestershire and European Regional Development Fund programme supporting start-up businesses in the county, has worked closely with Ingenuity again this year.

Start and Grow Enterprise were pleased to see six of their business clients reach the regional finals in May this year. On 17 June 2022, Ingenuity announced its four 2022 finalists, two of which are Start and Grow Enterprise business clients.

One of these finalists is Kesha Kellam, founder of Gloucestershire domestic abuse peer support group, Honour Thy Woman. Kesha won three awards: 2022 Impact Entrepreneur of the Year, South West Champion, and Community Champion.

Inspired by her own lived experience, Keasha will provide drop-in sessions, creative workshops, self-defence classes and health and wellbeing workshops to anyone who has experienced domestic abuse.

The second finalist is Dave Pearson, founder of Mindminder. Dave won the award of 2022 National Health Champion. The software Dave has produced uses low-cost Amazon Alexa devices to deliver stimulating dialogue to engage dementia sufferers in their own homes or care setting. The software produces reports which can be assessed over extended period of time to further understand the effects and impact of dementia.

Charles Dodwell, Project Manager at Start and Grow Enterprise, based at the Growth Hub in the Gloucestershire Business School at the University, said: “As a team dedicated to supporting Enterprise Start Ups in Gloucestershire, we see many interesting ideas come through our programme.

“Of these, Kesha and Dave’s enterprises present practical and innovative solutions to two major challenges facing society today.

“They thoroughly deserve to be Ingenuity Finalists, and we wish them every success in the future. We have no doubt their impact will be huge in the communities they serve.”

The 2022 national Ingenuity Impact finalists secured nearly £90,000 of funding to help them in the early stages of their entrepreneurial journeys.

Picture: Left to right, Chris Blackwell-Frost, Chief Strategy Officer, Nuffield Health; Dave Pearson, founder of Mindminder, Start and Grow Enterprise client and winner of 2022 National Health Champion Award