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Winning ideas spark business development

26 Mawrth 2008

Students outside the main building

A spark of an idea is all it took for three students from the School of Medicine to join the ranks of Wales’ young aspiring entrepreneurs.

DevelopMed, a not-for-profit company founded by final year students Robert McLeod, and George Tackley, and fourth-year student Andrew Carson-Stevens, has been named the Cardiff University Spark Business Idea Competition winner.

Securing £1000 to help turn their business ideas into a reality, the trio beat off competition from 22 other entries across the University. They also successfully survived a Dragon’s Den-style panel interview and will now be developing their innovative surgical tool into a product that potentially could have wider applications in third world countries.

The DevelopMed team devised the innovative medical device which could be used for the fast delivery of babies in foetal distress during childbirth, during a placement in Rwanda.

Under the mentorship of one of the Spark judges James Taylor, a Cardiff graduate who set up his own award-winning company SportsStars with the support of the University’s Research and Commercial Division, DevelopMed’s management team will be using the funding to patent their prototype model which has already proved a success in Rwanda.

Robert McLeod of DevelopMed said: "What we know is that we have developed a product that works and is desperately needed in developing countries but establishing this as a business is something very new to us.

"It’s the business support that we now need to establish and having James Taylor on board as a mentor will be valuable in guiding us through this set-up stage to ensure long-term success."

Spark will become an annual competition run jointly by the Research and Commercial Division and Cardiff University Students’ Union with the aim of inspiring students and supporting enterprising ideas across the University.

The Spark competition also awards two runner-up prizes of £500 each year towards the cost of business development. This year, LexAble, a company specialising in assistive software for dyslexics, and The Creative Booth, a marketing business specialising in services to rural businesses, will each benefit from the funding and ongoing support of the Research and Commercial Division.

Judging the competition alongside James Taylor were Leanna Davies, Finance Wales Network Manager for Xenos Business Angel Network, and Johnny Cox, President of Cardiff University Students’ Union.