Engineering Research Assistant and PhD students host IEEE Entrepreneurship pitch event

The University of Sheffield recently hosted an IEEE Entrepreneurship Event with seven teams of engineering students pitching their ideas to an expert panel. The three winning teams will now advance to the regional finals with teams from across Europe

A team photo showing all of the participants in the IEEE Entrepreneurship Event held at the University Sheffield in February 2024

IEEE Entrepreneurship, an initiative led by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), is committed to nurturing entrepreneurship and innovation within the global IEEE community. Every year, a multitude of events are organised by local IEEE Entrepreneurship ambassadors in a worldwide celebration across 170 countries. Each event features a local pitch competition for startups, with winning teams advancing to the global finals.

At the University of Sheffield, local ambassadors Baslin James (Research Assistant) and Zeyu Song (PhD student) in the Department of Automatic Control and Systems Engineering and Rea Nkhumise (PhD student) in the Department of Computer Science, collaborated with Abdul Hameed Raji (ambassador from Birmingham) to organise a pitch event.

The team launched a tutorial series about entrepreneurship aimed at preparing students for the pitch competition. The series consisted of three sessions led by both local and international entrepreneurs. In total about 80 students attended the series. The sessions offered invaluable insights about crafting compelling pitch decks, fostering confidence in articulating the value of ideas, building business networks, fundraising, and navigating the realities of the startup landscape.

The conclusion of the tutorial series led to interested participants partaking in the pitch competition held on 21st February.

Sheffield’s entrepreneurship event targeted engineering students. Seven teams pitched their ideas. The audience was a good mixture of undergraduate and postgraduate students from various departments, including Computer Science, Automatic Control and Systems Engineering, Chemical and Biological Engineering, the Information School, and Electronic and Electrical Engineering. There was also one pitch team that included an exchange student from the Department of Finance.

The event had some guest speakers on the day from Mina EV, a pioneering electric vehicle charging payment startup based in Sheffield, and BOW, a pioneering robotics firm specialising in streamlining robotics programming. The speakers provided insights and advice on establishing effective business communications and strategies for fundraising.

The judges were Gabrielė Barteškaitė, co-founder of Future Greens, Gary Neville, Director of people and operations at Capital Enterprise, Chris Dalrymple, Coo, EV at Fleetcor and Eldon Chinyamakobvu, Senior Power Platform Consultant at Capgemini Invent.

IEEE Entrepreneurship Ambassador, Rea Nkhumise said: “The interest in the event went beyond our expectations and we were delighted to see our students’ level of enthusiasm in entrepreneurship.”

The top 3 winning teams, awarded £200, £100, and £50 respectively, advance automatically to the regional finals featuring teams across Europe. Xtract [formerly VapeDrop] claimed 1st prize for addressing the environmental and health impacts of vaping through disassembling vapes and recycling their components. MoveCritic secured 2nd prize for their real-time exercise monitoring system aiding physiotherapy recovery, while ToolOS earned 3rd prize for its streamlined mobile operating system designed to enhance productivity and repurposing old Android devices.

The event organisers would like to thank the Department of Computer Science, the Department of Automatic Control and Systems Engineering and the University of Sheffield’s Commercialisation Office, who all provided financial support and sponsorship for the event.

Events at the University

Browse upcoming public lectures, exhibitions, family events, concerts, shows and festivals across the University.