Two brilliant businesses win the Northumbria University Business Challenge competition

Judges couldn't separate two entries in Northumbria University’s Business Challenge competition - so they both won

Dan Robson of Green Digit, a joint winner in Northumbria Universitys Business Challenge competition
Dan Robson of Green Digit, a joint winner in Northumbria Universitys Business Challenge competition

Two stunning start-ups created by entrepreneurial students have jointly taken the top award in Northumbria University’s annual Business Challenge competition.

Now in its tenth year, the competition is open to all students and recent graduates who have recently begun trading or are keen to put brilliant business ideas in motion.

And competition judges faced a tough decision choosing between Green Digit Gardening’s environmentally friendly SEEDCELL product and Moltin’s ecommerce software. After long deliberations the judges couldn’t separate the two and the top prize was awarded to both companies.

Green Digit Gardening was set up by design for industry graduate Dan Robson after working on placement in a plastics packaging factory.

He said: “I’ve had a huge amount of support from Northumbria’s Student and Graduate Enterprise scheme, which has really helped to accelerate the growth of the business. Thanks to their advice and guidance I am now working towards supplying larger retail chains, scaling the business up by going into mass production and I’m also starting to look at spin-out products.”

Founders of Moltin ecommerce, Jamie Holroyd and Adam Sturrock, met when working together at a web development agency and witnessed the frustrations of working with ecommerce software.

They began to develop their own ecommerce platform which would allow developers to work in any programming language on any device. Completing the Ignite technology accelerator programme has helped them to raise funds to develop their business, which has already garnered testimonials from clients, giving the pair high hopes for the future.

Mr Holroyd said: “Although I graduated in 2010, I have maintained a relationship with Northumbria and our company has received a great deal of support from the university. They have helped with legal advice and on general issues you face when setting up a business.”

Lucy Winskell, pro vice-chancellor for business and engagement at Northumbria University, added: “Northumbria is committed to developing the entrepreneurial and enterprising skills of our students. We provide wide-ranging support to help our students and graduates to maximise the potential of their business plans and continue this through the start-up process and beyond.

“To date, Northumbria’s graduate start-ups have a combined turnover of £54m and employ almost 800 people, with the vast majority based in the North East.”

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