Ingenuity Lab Stories
Lab members' stories
The Lab is home to over 200 business start-ups. You can read just some of our members' stories here.
Anika Vassell joined the Ingenuity Lab in 2014 as she wanted to develop a support service for parents who have children aged between nine and 19. Teen-Behaviour.com started out by offering support to local families and is now delivering training courses for companies across the East Midlands to address employee productivity.
The pathway to entrepreneurship is a precarious one, full of wonderful highs, lows and continual challenge. The facilities and support from the team at the Ingenuity Lab have provided me with guidance, encouragement, care and the stability needed to help with growing my business.
Shrenik Parmas founded Proodle Solutions after his own experiences as an international student applying to universities abroad. With strong networks back in India and growing team of international students in the UK who shared the same vision as him, Proodle Solutions was launched in 2017.
"Having gone through the enrolment process myself, I saw an opportunity to enhance the application experience for the current generation of digital natives by building a unique mobile application which allows universities to make their mark and stand out as the best institution in a highly saturated market", he said.
It is with the support of the Ingenuity Lab that we have managed to come so far with our product and grow a team of tenacious professionals who are enthusiastic about the same vision that brought Proodle Solutions into existence.
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Michèle Raicher was encouraged to join the Ingenuity Lab after developing a business plan as part of her MSc in Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Management at the Haydn Green Institute. She wanted to focus on equine health and welfare, and decided to develop an insect repellent device for horses.
“I love animals and my aim is to help”, she explained. “The horse I ride injured itself at the stables after becoming agitated by a horse fly, whose stings can be very painful. If a horse is scared, its natural reaction is to run away. The problem is, if you’re riding – especially as a beginner – and the horse bolts, it might create an accident where both horse and rider are injured. With better insect repellents and technology, many accidents could be prevented.”
The Lab helps in lots of different ways. There’s all the seminars, all the mentoring sessions – but what is most important is getting to speak with likeminded people on a daily basis, fellow Lab members who create their own businesses and spend their whole time working on it. Some people are more advanced, some at a lesser stage, but we all help each other, and I think that’s great.
Michèle has been at the Lab since 2018, developing her product and building a network of business contacts and like-minded budding entrepreneurs. She was one of the ten finalists on last year’s Ingenuity Programme, and was awarded a number of prizes at the Ingenuity19 Awards Ceremony, securing funding to help her business grow.
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James Doherty graduated with a BA (Hons) in Philosophy in 2017 and has been based at the Ingenuity Lab ever since, developing his student peer mentoring app TyFy.co The app provides a digital solution for pastoral issues and academic anxiety, and already counts a number of British universities as its clients.The inspiration for the app came through James’s own experience with peer mentoring at university.
“This, usually consisted of going for an awkward coffee, adding them on Facebook and never hearing from them again,”, he explained. “I just had an idea where I thought, shouldn’t it be easier for students to connect with each other? Isn’t there value in that – not just for students but for the university as well?”
James credits the Ingenuity Lab for helping him to nurture his idea into a fully-fledged business – from practical services provided by the Lab and Nottingham University Business School, to knowledge sharing and technical support from fellow members.
Coming from a politics background rather than a business studies one, I didn’t have a clue what I was doing! The surgeries and seminars series providing free advice from people who have been there and done that – are great and having a base at the Ingenuity Centre gives the business a level of legitimacy that we wouldn’t otherwise have got. But the main benefit isn’t the physical space as much as it is the people around you that really makes the difference.
Sociology graduate Yasmin Gregory founded local wellbeing hub at1.SPACE in 2017. Offering workshops and classes on yoga, mindfulness and meditation, as well as a range of wellbeing services including counselling and nutritional consultations, at1.SPACE is a “modern day urban sanctuary” located on the University’s Jubilee Campus.
Yasmin joined the Ingenuity Lab after opening the business and has since made use of the Lab’s 24-hour opening time, office space and business advice clinics while the company’s building underwent a complete renovation.
The Ingenuity Lab has been a blessing for me. As a new businesswoman, it was brilliant to be connected to a network of fellow entrepreneurs as well as academic experts from the University.”“The Ingenuity Lab has been a blessing for me. As a new businesswoman, it was brilliant to be connected to a network of fellow entrepreneurs as well as academic experts from the University.