Winners of the award

Exeter students scoop top enterprise start-up awards

University of Exeter students behind two enterprising start-up businesses have received top awards from the SETsquared partnership.

TickBox, which pioneers digital democracy, won the Best Student Start-Up category and the People’s Choice Award, while photo sharing specialists Instabear scooped the Best Graduate Start-Up prize at the Student Enterprise Awards at the University of Exeter Students’ Guild on June 5.

SETsquared is a partnership of the universities of Bath, Bristol, Exeter, Southampton and Surrey which, as well as incubating high-tech start-ups, encourages entrepreneurialism among students at the five institutions. Its Student Enterprise Awards, which take place every year, seek to honour the cream of the crop when it comes to business-minded students.

TickBox was set up in response to the outdated way it believed the public interacts with democracy and the voting process. The students realised vast sections of society, particularly the 18-24 year olds, felt disconnected from the process.

Making candidate and policy comparison as easy as possible, TickBox pioneers the field of digital democracy with technical innovation to put people back in touch.

The TickBox platform was tested at the University sabbatical elections at Exeter and Bristol and has since secured £50,000 of investment from grants and private individuals to fund the development of its website. This was launched at the European elections in May.

TickBox has also won awards from the UKTI and cross-party support in Westminster.

The second business from the Exeter stable to win last night was Instabear. The company was launched in February 2013, providing instant photo printing services from social media sites such as Facebook and Instagram.

Instabear now provides a specialist service, which allows guests at major events to share photos via social-media and has delivered major events contracts for Jaguar Land Rover, Ford, Jack Wills and other brands - including the launch of the F-Type Coupe and the JLR Auto Show in Los Angeles where more than 3,500 photos were printed and a enjoyed a viral reach of more than eight million people.

These contracts have led to a turnover of £60K in the year ending February 2014 and a further £20K in the current year to date.

Simon Bond, Innovation Director at SETsquared, congratulated the Exeter students of both winning businesses. He said:"Both TickBox and Instabear impressed the judging panel with their professionalism and drive.The enthusiasm and rapid success of both companies shows real foresight into what services the public wants and great entrepreneurial spirit."


Date: 6 June 2014

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