Sheep’s milk ice cream and designer shoes - Student businesses bid for Grand Idea title

04 Jun 2018

Future business leaders studying at the Royal Agricultural University (RAU) will have their plans scrutinised by a panel of expert entrepreneurs and business professionals in the hope of winning a £2,500 prize.

The judges for this year’s Grand Idea competition, on 11 June, include business stars Levi Roots, famous for his Reggae Reggae Sauce and now a member of RAU’s advisory council; Julian Dunkerton, co-founder of leading clothing brand Superdry; Christine Cross, former Group Business Development Director at Tesco; Charlie Beldam, RAU alumnus and creator of Cotswold Gold extra virgin rapeseed oil, joined by RAU’s Vice-Chancellor Professor Joanna Price.

Launched in 2008, the Dragons’ Den-style business planning competition inspires students to start their own companies and have their business cases appraised by top entrepreneurs.

Over 11 years Grand Idea has received over 100 business ideas, and enabled many entrepreneurial students to launch and grow a successful business.

This year’s finalists are Alex Dunn with her Farm Pack app, Alex Crawley with his grazing management concept, Edward Moorhouse with Credo Genomics, Harry Devlin and Gerard Salvin with Devlin and Salvin shoes, Trafford Watters and Emily Harrison with BAA ICE sheep milk ice cream, Marie Charles with her Khepri Smoothie and business students Harry Steele and David Bateson with their Noteus app.

Previous successful entrants returning for the awards include Jen Winnett (Jen Winnett Art), Lewis Steer, of Dartmoor Shepherd (sheepskin rugs and ethically reared lamb), Luke Craven co-founder of BiJimini, which produces sustainable flour mixed with crickets, and James Nightingall, of independent property agency James and James.

The RAU was nominated in this year’s Guardian University Awards in the Employability and Entrepreneurship category, thanks to its Enterprise Programme and support for students starting their own businesses.

Head of RAU Enterprise - Katy Duke

Katy Duke, Head of Enterprise at RAU said: “There is an impressive range of talent in the business ideas here, from smoothies and shoes, to innovations in agricultural management. It’s going to be exciting for the panel to test out the strengths and challenges of each proposal and ensure our winner is really capable of standing alone as a long-term business. The UK needs young business talent more than ever and the RAU is leading the way in the nurture and support of students with entrepreneurial spirit.”