PhD students win regional heat of Biotechnology Young Entrepreneur Scheme

Tessabelle Sultana, Hannah Thornton, Sarah Oates and Samuel Harding win the regional heat and go on to attend the national final in London. Here is their story.....

The competition tasked us with creating hypothetical biotechnology companies with plausible science which tackled major global issues. When creating this business we had to come up with accurate financial projections for the next 5 years, an intellectual property strategy and a marketing strategy in order to ensure the business was as lifelike as possible.

We considered many different ideas but eventually settled on a company that would tackle the issue of global plastic waste via a plastic degrading bacteria. We developed this idea prior to the regional heat with the help of mentor sessions organised by Juliet Hartland of Inkforge.

We then attended the regional heat in Oxford on the 9-11th of October, here we had 2 days of mentoring sessions ,where we changed our idea drastically, forcing us to have a very late night on Thursday. The Friday consisted of practicing the presentation and listening to other teams present to the panel of 4 judges we would soon be presenting against. We presented penultimately and it seemed to go well, although we didn't think we would win. So when our team name was announced as winners we were equal parts shocked and delighted.

We then worked incredibly hard between the heats and the final on the 2nd of December in order to refine our presentation and improve the overall quality of our research and business plan. The final on the 2nd of December was held at the London Marriott hotel, where we presented in front of a panel of 5 judges and competed against 9 other teams (it was really quite terrifying). Unfortunately this time we didn't win, however we had an amazing time and learned a lot, whilst making some invaluable contacts in the business world. Also we got put up in a lovely 5* hotel in central London after the competition, which was amazing!