'Wearable bodyguard' among ten new businesses by young entrepreneurs to receive funding boost

Media Relations Team, 14 December 2023

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Members of the judging panel for the UWE Bristol Entrepreneurial Futures Awards (from left to right, seated around a small table): Dr Paul Bennett, Peter Fane and Mark Mason.
Members of the judging panel for the UWE Bristol Entrepreneurial Futures Award (L-R): Dr Paul Bennett, Peter Fane and Mark Mason.

A business developing a ‘wearable bodyguard’ for safer solo journeys is among 10 growing businesses that have received a vital boost, thanks to funding donated by UWE Bristol alum Peter Fane.

The inaugural UWE Bristol Entrepreneurial Futures Award saw 16 start-ups invited to pitch for up to £10,000 of funding for their high growth-potential businesses. The young entrepreneurs, all UWE Bristol alumni, pitched business ideas to a panel including Peter, Mark Mason, former UWE Bristol Chair of Board of Governors, and Paul Bennett, Dean of Partnerships and International for Bristol Business and Law Schools.

Among 2023’s winners were eNOugh, a company creating a ‘wearable bodyguard’ badge designed for safer journeys; Vulpin, who are looking to combat motorcycle theft by developing a folding electric prototype; and FirstGens, a social enterprise aimed at supporting students who are the first in their family to go to university.

The Entrepreneurial Futures Award aims to support graduates to focus on their business ventures and undertake entrepreneurship as a career pathway after graduating. It has a particular focus on students who may not have the social capital or access to funding to support their businesses. Over the next five years, Peter’s donation will support many alumni with awards of up to £10,000.

Peter graduated with a BA (Hons) in Business Studies from UWE in 1985, founding landscaping services firm The Nurture Landscapes Group in 2008 and serving as its Managing Director until December 2021. Peter is also a founding member of the Elevate Investment Board, which will provide UWE Bristol entrepreneurs with the opportunity to pitch for equity investment and support in their businesses, alongside senior mentoring or in-kind support.

Peter said: “It was a pleasure to spend the day at UWE listening to pitches from budding entrepreneurs. The breadth of talent and ideas was fantastic, and I feel sure of the substantial growth ahead of them. It was special to be able to give them a helping hand, and I wish them all the best.”

Amanda Coffey, Deputy Vice Chancellor and Provost at UWE Bristol, said: “Funding like this can make a huge difference to entrepreneurs at the beginning of their journeys. In creating an entrepreneurship ecosystem at UWE Bristol, of which the awards are a part, we aim to support students and alumni in their business ventures and make business growth more accessible to all.”

If you’re inspired to learn more about the entrepreneurial ecosystem at UWE and understand how you could get involved please contact Rachel17.Evans@uwe.ac.uk or Colette.Percival@uwe.ac.uk.

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