Launchpad Start-up Academy supporting budding entrepreneurs
05 July 2022
Launchpad is supporting six entrepreneurs to develop their business ideas as part of its inaugural Start-up Academy.
Students from both Falmouth and Exeter universities are getting paid over six weeks to develop their ideas. They are also benefiting from a series of masterclasses provided by the MSc Entrepreneurship team in design thinking, finance and marketing as well as pitch practice and an opportunity to network with the wider Launchpad community.
Business and Entrepreneurship student from Falmouth, Bill Roberts, is working on making quality CBD products more accessible to those who need it via his business Hush CBD.
Bill came up with the idea for Hush CBD after undertaking research around stress and anxiety among students on the Penryn campus, as well as his own experience with anxiety and depression.
Bill said: “I joined the academy to develop my business. The knowledge and experience I have gained through the course have given me the foundations to succeed. The next steps for Hush CBD are an event on campus promoting maintaining and improving well-being, along with a significant push on marketing and keeping high retention of consumers.”
The Good Robot Company founded by University of Exeter students Fin McCormick and Lizbeth Chandler, detects bias in Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning systems.
Fin completed his undergraduate dissertation on using AI in organisational management and realised there was a huge problem with biased and unethical output from AI that nobody seemed to be tackling. Having worked together as student reps during their studies at the University of Exeter Business School, Fin turned to Lizbeth to research this problem. Lizbeth took her passions for Maths, computer science and systems thinking to start developing a cutting-edge technological solution.
The duo validated their idea during the recent Techstars Startup Weekend at Launchpad, have continued to develop the technology through the Start-up Academy, and have just secured their first customers, securing strategic research partnerships with organisations throughout the UK.
Fin explained: "The Techstars Startup Weekend was one of the best weekends of our lives and being able to take the energy and enthusiasm for The Good Robot Company on to the Start-up Academy has allowed us to grow exponentially. As the technology evolves, we’re excited to continue to develop a cutting-edge tech company born in Cornwall."
Megan Roberts and Alex Fish, from Falmouth’s School of Film & Television, are working on 99Films, a community led film showcase, celebrating student work and opening opportunities for engagement and discussion. They are currently organising their debut event, which will test the minimum viable product for the concept.
Megan said: “I joined the academy to better understand what steps it takes to start your own business, and I think I am now much more aware of how to push past the ideation stage. I have enjoyed connecting with all of the different people at Launchpad the most and hope to continue this journey of entrepreneurship.”
MA Creative Advertising student Charlii Testar’s business idea is Boo Boo Finnegan Adventures, which creates children's picture books for dads to read to their children, encouraging the development of emotional intelligence.
After realising that her initial idea was too complicated, Charlii decided to find a new problem to solve: “I’ve always been interested in emotional intelligence and so I began to research into the problems around having a low EQ, as well as the benefits of having a high EQ. I wasn't sure what my business was going to be until I interviewed a dad. That's when the idea came to light! I'm currently making my minimal viable product and will continue to do further research to ensure I'm on the right path. I have always wanted to start my own business, and this was the perfect opportunity.”
MSc Entrepreneurship Course Leader, Marcus Simmons, said: “We’ve really enjoyed having the start-up academy students attend some of our lectures and workshops. They’ve all been really keen to learn and have grasped the opportunity to see just how practical the MSc Entrepreneurship is in helping young entrepreneurs successfully develop their business ideas.”