The first student and graduate prizes salute the 2021 class

Entrepreneurs, rising stars in the workplace and inspiring educators have been honored at the De Montfort Leicester University (DMU) Student and Graduate First Awards.

The online event was broadcast live and hosted by DMU Works Business and Entrepreneurship team that works with students and alumni to develop a business or acquire entrepreneurial skills.

Host Simon Baines said, “This event felt like a true celebration of the phenomenal accomplishments of our entrepreneurial students and graduates, and the staff and founders who help us inspire them.

“We have received a large number of nominations and each one should be very proud.

“Our business offering for students and alumni continues to grow and evolve and I encourage anyone with even a seed of an idea to check out and see how we can help them.”

Over 100 nominations were received and the judges narrowed it down to 27 finalists in eight categories.

Positive Planet Impact Award-winning lingerie designer Roshni Desai is part of the Crucible Project, DMU’s two-year program to help graduates start their own businesses. She said: “It has been an honor to be nominated and to win the Positive Impact on the Planet award. My company has overcome many challenges over the past year and the launch at the height of Covid has been incredibly difficult but

“I achieved everything I planned to do with my clothes and design them in a way that would reduce waste in the fashion industry during their manufacture and reduce the amount of waste that ends up being put on. in landfill. I hope to create many more designs and clothes like this in the years to come. “

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The winners were:

Inspirational founder: Eve Drayton-Hill, co-founder and manager of the Woodgate Community Foodbank, which started during the first months of the Covid-19 pandemic. It offers food and essential household items and operates a delivery service for people unable to travel or who are protecting themselves.

Positive Planet Impact Award: Roshni Desai, owner of Roshni Desai Designs, is a lingerie brand that creates bras up to four sizes to reduce waste in the fashion industry. It uses biodegradable and recyclable materials to package and ship items.

Launch pad price: This award recognizes students and graduates who participated in the DMU Launchpad Start-up Program, a four-day bootcamp that provided the essentials of the business. The winners were Lauren Snowden Higgs, Richard Narayan, Sonia Bordin Aykroyd and Kirsty Topley.

International Entrepreneur of the Year: Rupinder Kaur Bhanganni, who runs RKB Design Studio, an interior design firm in Leicester specializing in the transformation of cafes and offices.

Intrapreneur of the year: Esther Sodeke won this category, which aimed to recognize people who have made a difference in their 9-5 job by bringing an entrepreneurial spirit to their work. She works for the mobile game company NaturalMotion.

Inspirational educators: Dr Simon Hill and Dr Natasha Mwila from the Faculty of Business and Law, and Martin Shakeshaft, Senior Lecturer in Photography and Video.

Former entrepreneurs award: Photographer and videographer Phoebe Carnall-Ruppel who started her own photography business after graduating in 2020. She started out in fashion photography and has since collaborated with local artists and designers.

Student entrepreneur award: Chris Philips, who started his cybersecurity company ADSS Cyber ​​Security alongside his company. ADSS was named one of the UK’s Top Five Security Startups in 2020 by Enterprise Security Magazine.
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A special price for exceptional achievements was introduced to Jane Hearst, a filmmaker who put together The Curious Observer as a student. She is now a postgraduate researcher exploring the role of the arts on wellness.

She said: “I would never have had the opportunity to do all of this without DMU and the opportunities it offers. There is a real entrepreneurial support system in place at the university.

Posted on Thursday, July 8, 2021

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