A cut above: hair and beauty app wins InvEnterPrize 2018
InvEnterPrize winners receive £10,000 boost for hair and beauty app: Left to right – Dr Rhodri Llwyd Morgan, Pro Vice-Chancellor Aberystwyth University; Professor Donald Davies, Chair of Inventerprize judging panel; Clipr developers Howun Lam, James Stone and James Bryan; Tony Orme, Careers Service at Aberystwyth University and Louise Jagger, Director of Development and Alumni Relations at Aberystwyth University.
23 March 2018
A mobile app designed to revolutionise bookings in the hair and beauty sector is the winner of Aberystwyth University’s InvEnterPrize for 2018.
Developed by student team James Bryan, James Stone and Howun Lam, Clipr is designed to bring salons closer to customers and enable them to run their businesses from their smartphones.
Along with the title of InvEnterPrize winners, the team receives a £10,000 prize to invest in developing the concept.
“The app is Airbnb meets Uber for hair and beauty”, said James Bryan, who came up with the idea whilst looking for a hair salon open on a Sunday in Aberystwyth.
“Using the app is a very simple, intuitive process which will be familiar to anyone using social media”, he added.
Since September 2017, the team have been working with businesses in Aberystwyth and now look forward to finalising the concept before launching the app to students in the town.
“Winning InvEnterPrize is a huge boost and will enable us to develop an iOS version for Apple smartphones as it currently only exists in Android. We are also looking at making it possible for the businesses who are part of the project to take digital payments safely.”
A further two entries were highly commended by the judges; Tom Lancaster with his Exmoor Bike Park proposal, and Enhancing Coastal Habitats by Harry Dennis, Ally Hall and Sunny Bradbury.
Chair of the judges, Donald Davies, Emeritus Professor in Toxicology at Imperial College London, said: “We are delighted to announce James Bryan, James Stone and Howun Lam as the winners of InvEnterPrize 2018. The standards set this year have been very high indeed. It was extremely difficult to cut the field down to six from the original 22 entries. Of the presentations we saw in the final round, there were some that were really outstanding with very good prospect of being successful businesses. The winner has a very good business plan and we are confident it can be a success.”
“InvEnterPrize is extremely important and clearly inspires students here at Aberystwyth University to venture and develop ideas that go beyond what they might normally do. It is so important to sow the seed of an idea that students can develop into a business, and this competition, along with the support the teams receive throughout the year from the University’s Careers service, makes this all possible.”
The finalists presented their business proposals to a panel of judges in a Dragon’s Den style event, on Monday 19 March 2018.
InvEnterPrize organiser and Aberystwyth University entrepreneurship champion, Tony Orme, said: “The quality of the entries this year has been exceptional and the final proved to be a very close run thing indeed. We are immensely grateful to our panel of judges for their valuable time and expertise in this year’s search for a winner, and to the University’s alumni who make this competition possible via the Aber Fund. We now look forward to working with James, James and Howun as they develop their concept and look forward to the day it launches commercially.”
Now in its 5th year, InvEnterPrize was established to encourage a culture of entrepreneurship.
The £10,000 prize provided by alumni via the Aber Fund enables the winner to invest in equipment, facilities or professional services to turn the invention or business start-up idea into reality.
Entrants also have the opportunity to seek expert advice and attend a series of workshops and presentations led by successful entrepreneurs as they developed their final bids, gaining valuable advice on the way.
Aberystwyth University offers a full programme of events to support entrepreneurial activity amongst students, alumni and staff. To find out more visit the AberPreneurs online pages here.
The judges for InvEnterPrize 2018 are:
Donald Davies (Chair) - Emeritus Professor in Toxicology at Imperial College London and a Founding Director of ML Laboratories plc (pharmaceuticals), one of the first public biotechnology companies to be listed on the London Stock Exchange.
Jane Clayton - A qualified practising chartered accountant, Jane is also an experienced non-executive Director. She is currently Chairman of Bay Leisure Limited and Treasurer of St David's Medical Foundation.
Nigel Davies - After graduate and postgraduate studies in Aberystwyth, Nigel worked for 30 years in corporate technology and business. In 2003 he was the founding director of Innoval Technology, which is a UK technology-based consultancy with a global client base.
Peter Gradwell - Peter studied Software Engineering at Aberystwyth, graduating in 2002. While at University he founded his own internet communications company, Gradwell Dot Com Ltd.
Huw Morgan - Former Head of Business Banking, HSBC Bank plc, Huw worked for HSBC for the majority of his working life. He was most recently responsible for Business Banking and Franchising for the UK
David Sargen - Managing Partner of Derivatives Risk Solutions LLP, a specialist risk consultancy providing expertise across a broad spectrum of disciplines within the financial industry, with a particular focus on the global derivatives market.
Kerry Diamond - Chair of the Welsh Industrial Development Advisory Board, which advises the Welsh Government on grant support to business, also a Business Improvement Consultant, and Vice-Chair for Stoke and Staffs Local Enterprise Partnership. Formerly Chief Financial Officer, Zytec - automotive systems - high performance racing cars and road cars.
All seven judges are graduates of Aberystwyth University.