Engineering students from Lancaster University have developed a drinking cup concept called Quench that alerts users when their drink has been spiked.
The ‘Quench Spike Free Cup’ was chosen as the top business idea as part of the Engineers in Business Fellowship competition, which involved 135 second-year engineering students competing in 14 teams. Quench uses coloured detection strips within transparent plastic cups so people can easily see if their drinks have been tampered with. The winning team, which included Olivia Albrecht, Alexander Cochrane, Nathan Lee, Ahmed Negm, Kelvin Southwell, Jack Bentley, Benoit Ferrand, Alex McGrath, Jaidhish Passary and Daniel Williamson, have been awarded £1,750. The prize money was provided by the Sainsbury Management Fellows in the form of an ‘Engineers in Business Fellowship’, and will be used to further develop the business idea and build additional prototypes.
“The investment rewards gave the module a competitive edge, encouraging greater group engagement and making setting up a business a more appealing route for engineers who hadn’t even considered it,” said Lancaster engineering student Daniel Williamson. “Receiving the money enables our group to gain hands-on experience during the exploration of starting up a business, and an easier path to business success.”
The final business presentations were judged by an independent panel including: Mo Isap, a board member of the Greater Manchester Enterprise Partnership; Richard Harrison, business owner at Geminus Training; Kursat Celik, an Associate Professor at Akdeniz University in Turkey; and Rachel Cox, Enterprise Education Development Manager at Lancaster University’s Enterprise Team. Winners were selected based on criteria including their business pitches, the viability of the concepts, as well as consideration of low start-up capital requirements.
“Undergraduate engineering students naturally shy away from business and management type modules, preferring the more numerate and technical subjects,” said competition organiser Dr Allan Rennie, senior lecturer at Lancaster University’s Engineering Department. “However, this particular module, which embeds entrepreneurship and innovation within the curriculum, has gained in popularity in recent years.
“We were pleased that the Engineers in Business Fellowship also saw the potential in this module, and awarded £3,000 to invest in some of the best business ideas that emerged from the student teams. Real money, to do real things.”
Second place and £750 went to Buddyup, an idea for a sports app to allow users to find sports companions at similar levels of skill and ability within a chosen geographic location. Third place and £500 prize were awarded to Tech Test, a technology trial service where users can test new technology over short trial periods before committing to buy their own devices.