Middlesex University London student Andre Thompson was crowned 2017 Entrepreneurial Barnet winner on Tuesday 7 March after he successfully pitched his Student Light idea to the competition judges in the grand final in London.
The Creative Technology Master’s student beat off tough competition from four other budding tycoons from across the Borough to clinch the £2,000 cash prize, pop-up store at Brent Cross and ongoing expert mentoring.
Student Light is an app and web platform for students created to liberate them from the common barriers and adversity that they face, particularly around mental health issues. It is designed to connect individuals, communities and leaders within and across higher education institutions and empower them to create positive change in their own and in other people’s lives.
Andre Thompson said: “It feels absolutely incredible to win the prize. I’m glad to see that people are really seeing that mental health in universities is an issue.
“I’ve been working so hard on this with students finding out what they want and the struggles that they face and trying to come up with solutions. I really hope that this business can make a real difference and this money will pay for start-up costs including software and licenses.
“My time at Middlesex has helped me massively; not just the support from lecturers but also the support from students. Every day I feel like giving up or quitting I think of the students who have made a difference to my life and I just want to give back. Hopefully this app will do that.
Also pitching their business plans to the expert panel at the head office of property developers Hammerson in the grand final were Middlesex undergraduates Bethany Flower and Jasmine St Cliere with Agent Dance, Barnet and Southgate College student Chrystle Perkins with Reggae Aerobics and Lee Dein from Barnet Business with Magic Link Handwriting.
Each of these category winners received a cheque for £500 and a banner made for their business.
This competition is an annual collaboration between Middlesex University London, Barnet & Southgate College, Barnet Council (Capita RE), supported by Brent Cross and sponsored by Hammerson who will host the final at their head office in London.
David Williams, Director for Corporate Engagement at Middlesex University London said: "We are delighted that this competition has attracted and inspired students from across the University and our partners.
"Congratulations to all the finalists, they all demonstrated that they have exciting products that can make a difference and I hope they go on to become a great success.”
Applicants were received from Barnet & Southgate College, Barnet residents as well as undergraduate, postgraduate and alumni from Middlesex University London.
London Borough of Barnet Councillor Dan Thomas, Chairman of the council’s Assets, Regeneration and Growth said: “Barnet Council is proud to be a part of the Barnet Entrepreneurial Competition in championing the innovation and hard work being undertaken by those who live and work in Barnet. Andre is a very deserving winner with his excellent Student Light app and I congratulate him and the other finalists for the fantastic contributions their business have made, and will continue to make, to our Borough."
David Byrne, Principal of Barnet and Southgate College, said: “The competition has given our Foundation Business Degree students a taste of entrepreneurship, providing invaluable experience in formulating an idea to pitch against other businesses in a competitive marketplace.
“We’d like to congratulate Barnet and Southgate College student, Chrystle Perkins for reaching the final with her innovative idea for Reggae Aerobics and we wish the winner of the competition every success.”