Jared Spencer - RIDDIM - UoN Entrepreneur of the Year

Innovative start-ups win national entrepreneur awards and seed funding

Monday, 26 June 2023

Allergen-free snacks, a physiotherapy app for children with disabilities, and flashcards to help refugees overcome language barriers are just some of the business ideas that have won national entrepreneur awards and a share of £75,000 in seed funding.

After pitching their ideas to an expert panel, as part of the Ingenuity Programme run by the University of Nottingham and sponsored by Nuffield Health, the start-ups are among 17 UK fledgling businesses that have won awards.

Jared Spencer, a University of Nottingham alumnus, won the University of Nottingham Impact Entrepreneur of the Year award, for his business ‘RIDDIM’, which addresses the rise in allergens as the most common chronic disease in Europe where many people with allergies struggle daily with the fear of possible asthma attack, anaphylactic shock, or even death from an allergic reaction.

RIDDIM is a dietarily inclusive, culturally relevant snack company which draws its inspiration from the flavours and the stories of the Caribbean to produce a range of tasty snack products free from 13 of the 14 major allergens.

Katie Michaels, a Loughborough University alumni, won the National Health Champion award (£5,000 sponsored by Nuffield Health) for Moti Me, which aims to help children with disabilities. She has identified that a lack of access to physiotherapy and physical activity sessions guided by healthcare professionals can be detrimental for children with disabilities in achieving their developmental milestones and how parents often struggle to continue the exercises at home. Moti Me includes a handheld device, mat and guidance app to support parents or caregivers and their child with special needs to practice physio and carry out developmental exercises in the home environment. Katie also won the Shakespeare Martineau Legal Prize (£2,000 of in-kind legal support provided by Shakespeare Martineau).

Richard Holmes, a student at York St John University, won the overall Impact Entrepreneur of the Year award (£10,000 sponsored by Nuffield Health) for his business, Global Anthem, a hand gesture flashcard system that enables effective communication for refugees and migrants facing language barriers. Richard also won the Yorkshire and Humber Champion (sponsored by Santander Universities UK); the Shakespeare Martineau Legal Prize (£2,000 of in-kind legal support provided by Shakespeare Martineau); and the Engineers in Business Prize (£1,000 provided by Engineers in Business Fellowship).

I am delighted with the outcome of the 2023 Ingenuity National Competition and the positive, meaningful impact of the programme this year. The Ingenuity Programme team are so incredibly proud of our 2023 Changemakers and their commitment to developing businesses focussed on improving health, tackling climate change and building stronger communities.
Claire Mulholland, Senior Business Development and Ingenuity Programme Manager at the University of Nottingham

Claire continued: "Thank you to our participants, alumni, corporate, community and university partners, mentors, judges, contributors and other valued members of our Ingenuity Programme network.”

Ben Davies, Organisational Development Director at Nuffield Health said: “Nuffield Health is incredibly proud to have partnered with Ingenuity on this programme. Partnerships really are the key to maximising the positive impact we can have at a national, regional and local level. One of the ways we are starting to tackle the UK’s major health, social and environmental challenges is by supporting innovative start-ups with a social mission at their core."

We are delighted to play our part in supporting up and coming entrepreneurs that are making such a meaningful impact in their communities. All of the participants should be incredibly proud, and I look forward to seeing how these fantastic programmes develop in the future.
Ben Davies, Nuffield Health

“We are delighted to play our part in supporting up and coming entrepreneurs that are making such a meaningful impact in their communities. All of the participants should be incredibly proud, and I look forward to seeing how these fantastic programmes develop in the future.”

Run by the University of Nottingham and in partnership with Nuffield Health, the Ingenuity Programme provides start-up skills and training, networking, mentoring, and routes to funding for early-stage impact-driven businesses to make social and environmental change. The most impactful ideas are awarded a top prize and receive a share of £75,000 funding to help them in the early stages of their entrepreneurial journeys.

 The programme supports participants to turn ideas for change into exciting new ventures and adopts an agile and flexible approach to ensure we are diverse, inclusive, and accessible. 

The Ingenuity Programme is designed to demystify entrepreneurship and support those not currently served by existing services available in Nottingham and in the UK’s start-up landscape. This includes engaging with and supporting underserved and underrepresented groups both from within the university and its local communities.

Other winners include:

Pipeline Organics - Climate Champion

Pipeline Organics

A team of University of Nottingham students, Andrew Raslan, Eric Lehder, Arielle Torres and Keyvan Jodeiri, won the National Climate Champion (£5,000 sponsored by Nuffield Health) and the Engineers in Business Prize (£1,000 provided by Engineers in Business Fellowship). Pipeline Organics focuses on the climate challenge of fossil fuel electricity emitting polluting greenhouse gases and wastewater treatment plants using large amounts of electricity whilst water companies struggle to meeting government net zero targets. The Pipeline Organics solution of TankArc is an enzymatic biofuel cell product that generates electricity through the breakdown of liquid organic waste in the wastewater treatment process with the aim to produce year-round, cheap, clean bioenergy from wastewater.

Emma Redfern - Studio Self-Made - Community Champion

Studio Self-Made

Emma Redfern, a Sheffield Hallam University student, won the National Community Champion (£5,000 sponsored by Nuffield Health). Studio Self-Made addresses how most creative industry placements require relocation, which can be prohibitively expensive for many working class young people and how the reduction in higher education funding for art and design courses prevents students from less privileged backgrounds pursuing a creative career. Studio Self-Made provides an online education platform that helps bridge the gap between university and the working world through a digital internship with the mission to democratise creative career education.

A full list of winners can be found at:

Story credits

More information is available from Claire Mullholland (née Donaldson in the University of Nottingham Business School at

Katie Andrews - Media Relations Manager for the Faculty of Social Sciences
Phone: 0115 951 5751

Notes to editors:

About the University of Nottingham

Ranked 32 in Europe and 16th in the UK by the QS World University Rankings: Europe 2024, the University of Nottingham is a founding member of the Russell Group of research-intensive universities. Studying at the University of Nottingham is a life-changing experience, and we pride ourselves on unlocking the potential of our students. We have a pioneering spirit, expressed in the vision of our founder Sir Jesse Boot, which has seen us lead the way in establishing campuses in China and Malaysia - part of a globally connected network of education, research and industrial engagement.

Nottingham was crowned Sports University of the Year by The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2024 – the third time it has been given the honour since 2018 – and by the Daily Mail University Guide 2024.

The university is among the best universities in the UK for the strength of our research, positioned seventh for research power in the UK according to REF 2021. The birthplace of discoveries such as MRI and ibuprofen, our innovations transform lives and tackle global problems such as sustainable food supplies, ending modern slavery, developing greener transport, and reducing reliance on fossil fuels.

The university is a major employer and industry partner - locally and globally - and our graduates are the second most targeted by the UK's top employers, according to The Graduate Market in 2022 report by High Fliers Research.

We lead the Universities for Nottingham initiative, in partnership with Nottingham Trent University, a pioneering collaboration between the city’s two world-class institutions to improve levels of prosperity, opportunity, sustainability, health and wellbeing for residents in the city and region we are proud to call home.

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