Sheffield's enterprise successes
For many years the University has promoted entrepreneurship, and provided support for students and graduates with their own business ideas through University of Sheffield Enterprise (USE). USE provides a range of levels of guidance, from first principles right up to expanding a business, as well as providing space for new start-ups to work from. Below are three recent examples of successful businesses developed by Sheffield students and graduates.
Research Retold started in 2014 while politics and data science graduate Mihaela Gruia (BA International Relations and Politics 2015) was on a placement in Brussels. On her return to Sheffield Mihaela linked up with USE to make it a reality. Research Retold works with academics to help them to communicate their research findings and impacts in clear, accessible and attractive ways.
Since launching last March, Research Retold has steadily been building up its client base – including a number of academics across the universities of Sheffield, Leeds and Derby – and has won several investment prizes including from the New Entrepreneurs Foundation programme, and £25,000 from the Y-accelerator scheme.
Prolifc was set up by social science PhD candidate Ekaterina Damer in 2014 to help researchers find reliable, on-demand participants for research studies. The initial idea for the company was to offer researchers a more reliable selection of participants and at a more affordable cost than the existing sector leader.
Prolific is now used by over 1,300 academic institutions worldwide and was recently cited as providing a better quality source of participants than rival giant Amazon’s Mechanical Turk, a vindication for Ekaterina and her co-founder Phelim, who were frustrated having been troubled by the difficulty in accessing data sources themselves during their studies.
Since its founding Prolific has supported over 6,500 studies, and made it possible for researchers to collect over 1 million unique responses.
Tutora was co-founded by law alumnus Scott Woodley (MA Law 2008) when, while working as a teacher, he grew frustrated at the difficulty many parents faced trying to find tutors for their children. So, along with his friend Mark Hughes, he set out to find a way of finding reputable tutors, without having to rely on word of mouth.
From here Tutora was born - a website and database of reputable tuition providers. The Tutora team vet every tutor before they are listed, and through their system parents are able to book lessons directly with the tutors.
In 2016 the company crowdfunded £150,000 to establish themselves, and earlier this year, after having grown by 700% and having over 6,000 tutors, they have now raised a further £450,000 to expand the Sheffield based company once again.
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