Staff Newspaper of Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine
IC Reporter
 Issue 107, 26 June 2001
Minister praises research centre «
Shining lights scoop 25,000 prize «
Pisa stands proud «
e-MasterClass - the human touch «
Sinfonia 21 world premieres «
European Business Plan win «
Want to get ahead? «
Nicholas has Sachs appeal «
JIF award «
Something fishy... «
Inaugural lecture «
Goon, but not forgotten... «
March - June 2001 «
Regular Features
In Brief «
Media Spotlight «

Shining lights scoop £25,000 prize

TBsC Technology won the £25,000 New Business Challenge this month for its plan to market technology to improve the maintenance and safety of gas turbines.

Two runners-up, each winning £5,000, were V-Clip, the company behind the medical product of the same name, and Cipherware, which is developing a new cross-enterprise computer security platform.

The winners
Joy for winners Joerg Feist, Udo Dengel and Simon Hubbard
In a packed lecture theatre in the department of engineering, the winners received their prizes from the rector, Sir Richard Sykes. "I am very proud to be rector of a College that produces people of this quality," he said.

Speaking generally about the level of eleven finalists chosen from 217 entries, he added: "There is a glittering career ahead for those who continue to be creative in the way they have been in this competition."

The winning product, borne out of research by mechanical engineering PhD student Joerg Feist, is a special 'paint' that can be applied to the inside of gas turbines. When illuminated with a UV light it highlights wear-and-tear and pinpoints where microscopic faults are developing.

The product may offer greater safety and large savings on maintenance bills in the power generation, aerospace and automotive industries where the typical downtime of a 250MegaWatt turbine is estimated to cost about £1million.

V-Clip designed 'a unique life-saving medical device for use in brain surgery,' while Cipherware's product, 'combines advanced encryption, distributed computing and network engineering, allowing different networks to access and encrypt any database on any network.'

The panel of judges included venture capitalists, angel investors, bankers and consultants in addition to entrepreneurship professors from Imperial College. Judges from the business community represented McKinsey & Co, HSBC, iGabriel, First Tuesday (London) and Bamboo Investments.

The prize-giving ceremony marked the end of the first Entrepreneurs' Challenge, which aimed to develop business skills amongst Imperial's 10,000 science, technology, engineering, medicine and management students.

The first phase of the competition - the Ideas Challenge - was adjudicated in January, when 20 winners received cheques for £1,000 each. Following its success, a second Entrepreneurs' Challenge has now been launched to run through to Easter 2002.

Dr Simon Barnes, lecturer in Entrepreneurship and venture capital investor stated, "The raw talent and energy displayed by all of the teams at the beginning of this competition back in January was remarkable, but even more outstanding is their speed of learning.

"These are our very brightest students and they have developed into entrepreneurs! I have no doubt they will be able to look even the toughest investor in the eye from now on."

Sue Birley, director of the entrepreneurship centre, concluded: "We have brought Imperial and business together, uniting students, sponsors, alumni and masters. These students have managed to produce plans which in the view of the judges, are truly outstanding."

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© Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine, 2001
26 June 2001