Nottingham start-ups win national entrepreneur awards and seed funding

Friday, 17 June 2022

Six budding Nottingham entrepreneurs have been announced as winners of the 2022 Ingenuity Impact Awards at the University of Nottingham’s inaugural business conference.

After pitching their ideas to an expert panel, the local start-ups are among 17 UK fledgling businesses won awards, securing nearly £90,000 in funding to help them in the early stages of their entrepreneurial journeys.

Among the winners are three local women who were presented with the Brenda Dean Award for Female Enterprise:

  • Caron Boughassoul and Shoana Khan run The People’s Pantry, based in Radford, Nottingham, which provides affordable, culturally appropriate food to community members from low-income households who are struggling to manage their finances.

  • Charm Daley’s ‘Global Dance’ is a practical resource package for teaching staff and people working with children to use. It features easy-to-follow dance and music from different parts of the world with cultural attributes, giving children a safe space to talk and learn about difference, race and heritage whilst getting much-needed physical activity.

Two graduates and one current student from Nottingham’s two universities make up the East Midlands Champions:

  • Ben Keeble, a Witty Entrepreneurial Scholar at the University of Nottingham, has developed the Mobiliaid, a seat raiser product which makes it easier for older people to sit and stand. Having noticed the impact that a lack of socialisation can have on older people’s mental health, Ben wants to make it easier for those struggling with mobility issues to leave the house, giving them back their freedom and a sense of independence.

  • Ryan Brown, who studied Architectural Engineering at the University of Nottingham, has developed Cilo, an app designed to empower positive climate action by allowing users to see the carbon cost of products, track their daily spending, and receive personalised tips to reduce their impact.

  • Inspired by her own experiences as a cancer survivor, Nottingham Trent University alumna Alex Perry’s H.E.R Bodywear aims to create self-esteem boosting lingerie for women who have lost their self-confidence following breast cancer surgery.

The winners were announced at an awards ceremony at the University’s business conference: Power of Partnerships: Driving change in the East Midlands in front of business leaders from across the UK and politicians including Ben Bradley MP, Leader of Nottinghamshire County Council.

Elizabeth Smith, Head of the Ingenuity Programme at the Haydn Green Institute at Nottingham University Business School, said: “Over the last six years we have been committed to using the concept of civic entrepreneurship to drive change. It's been fantastic to have support from the UK’s largest health charity Nuffield Health, as well as local organisations like Shakespeare Martineau LLP and Nottingham Forest Community Trust to continue this mission. These partnerships have enabled us to expand our capacity for helping our participants to develop their ideas and entrepreneurial skillsets, to start making lasting and meaningful change in their communities."

Brendan Street, Head of Charity at Nuffield Health said: “Nuffield Health is honoured to have partnered with Ingenuity on this amazing programme, with our sponsored initiatives presenting a wide range of inspiring initiatives that will meaningfully impact communities in terms of health, wellbeing and sustainability.

"From an initiative improving the lives of people living with dementia, to an enterprise increasing access to the outdoors to combat loneliness for those with limited resources, and a programme that will change the lives of those in underserved groups experiencing domestic abuse; it has been a true privilege to be involved and see how each initiative, and those involved with them, have grown.

"This is only the beginning of Nuffield Health’s partnership with Ingenuity, and we look forward to supporting this years’ winners in the months to come as well as helping find the civil entrepreneurs for 2023.”

Our 2022 cohort was our most diverse yet, and this was reflected in the breadth and scope of this year’s winners: from community action groups to cutting edge apps and software to change the way we live. We look forward to working with students, graduates and local communities to give them the skills, networks and routes to funding to develop solutions that can deliver real change for years to come.
Elizabeth Smith, Head of the Ingenuity Programme at the Haydn Green Institute

The winners have all completed the Ingenuity Programme: a business creation competition, run by the Haydn Green Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Nottingham University Business School, where entrepreneurs are supported to develop and progress their initial idea with the support of experts from across 30 universities.

The Ingenuity Programme supports start-ups to directly address the UK’s social and environmental challenges to drive change in local communities. Entrepreneurs can access online learning materials and tutorials from industry and academic experts, as well as support from specialist mentors to develop their idea into a business plan, to be in with a chance of winning significant investment and support through the competition.

The learning platform includes a step-by-step process to help entrepreneurs to think through the finance, marketing, impact measurement, copyright, and organisational development of their solution.

Each start-up submitted their finished business plans to be assessed by industry experts. The most scalable and impactful ideas from each region were then announced as Regional Finalists. From there, today’s winners were chosen.

The Ingenuity Programme supports social mobility by providing seed grants and mentorship to innovators looking to start new enterprises, aiming to engage innovators from under-represented and underserved groups across the UK.

The 2022 programme focused on three key challenges: building stronger communities, improving health, and tackling climate change.

To date, Ingenuity has supported nearly 3,000 innovators and delivered almost £1M of seed funding, including The Anxiety Map Programme, which created a network of venues trained in anxiety accessibility for people living with anxiety or mental ill health.

A full list of winners can be found at:

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More information is available from Elizabeth Smith, Head of the Ingenuity Programme at the University of Nottingham at

Katie Andrews - Media Relations Manager Social Sciences
Phone: 0115 951 5751

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The University of Nottingham is a research-intensive university with a proud heritage. 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. Ranked 18th in the UK by the QS World University Rankings 2023, the University’s state-of-the-art facilities and inclusive and disability sport provision is reflected in its crowning as The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide Sports University of the Year twice in three years, most recently in 2021. We are ranked seventh for research power in the UK according to REF 2021. We have six beacons of research excellence helping to transform lives and change the world; we are also a major employer and industry partner - locally and globally. Alongside Nottingham Trent University, we lead the Universities for Nottingham initiative, a pioneering collaboration which brings together the combined strength and civic missions of Nottingham’s two world-class universities and is working with local communities and partners to aid recovery and renewal following the COVID-19 pandemic.

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