King’s announces the winners of the Entrepreneurship Prize

Ira Guha, founder of Asan

The winners of the 2019 Entrepreneurship Prize have just been announced. This is the fourth year of the annual competition, which aims to encourage students, researchers and alumni to apply their knowhow for social and economic benefit by providing funding for exciting business ideas.

This year, the first prize of £20,000 was jointly awarded to two start-ups that promise international health benefits. The three prizewinners this year were:

Joint 1st place – Asan

Asan, founded by Ira Guha (KC 2011), is a social enterprise that addresses poor menstrual hygiene in India. Asan plans to transform period care by distributing reusable menstrual cups, which are an affordable and eco-friendly period product made from silicone. It aims to improve public health, reduce anxiety, inconvenience and waste, subsequently impacting both the home and working lives of millions of Indian women.

On being awarded the Entrepreneurship Prize, Ira said:

"I am absolutely thrilled to have won this prize. Considering that we are an early stage social enterprise, the grant will go a long way in helping Asan get our project off the ground. In addition, the competition has been hugely helpful in developing Asan’s business model. I received detailed feedback from judges and mentors at each stage, which has helped to refine and improve the model over time."

Joint 1st place – WaterScope

WaterScope, led by microbiologist Alexander Patto (KC 2012), has invented a cartridge-based bacterial testing system to combat the global challenge of contaminated drinking water. Find out more at WaterScope's website here.

3rd place: SpaceTime Enterprises

In third place and winning £5,000 were SpaceTime Enterprises, who want to democratise space through the provision of virtual and augmented reality (VR/AR) products developed using high-resolution, real-time space imagery generated from their own in-orbit assets. They plan to stream the earth in real-time for mass-market customers and provide licenced imagery access for niche applications and research. SpaceTime Enterprises is led by Kathryn O'Donnell (KC 1993).

The Entrepreneurship Prize

The Entrepreneurship Prize competition, established by The Stuart Lyons Fund in 2014, was initiated to encourage and support King’s graduates and researchers to develop and exploit promising ideas and concepts in the fields of entrepreneurship, innovation and competitiveness. The ideas could result from academic study in the sciences, technology, engineering, mathematics or the humanities, from research projects, from business study in or outside Cambridge, or from the creative stimulus that the College provides.

The entrants can be either individuals or groups, with the only stipulation being that at least one member within the group has to have studied at King’s. More than 75 entrants compete each year for the first prize of £20,000, with 6 finalists invited back to College to present their business plans to a panel of Fellows and King’s alumni. The live presentations are affectionately referred to as entering the ‘Lyons’ Den’, after Stuart Lyons CBE (KC 1962), who donated the prize fund and sits on the judging panel. This year's Prize was also funded by Adrian Suggett (KC 1985).

Previous winners of the King’s Entrepreneurship Prize

Previous winners of the Entrepreneurship Prize are already garnering outside recognition. Among them, the 2014 winner, Nemesis Bioscience, recently raised £1.4 million in seed-funding, whilst the 2017 runner-up Echion Technologies was included in Forbes’ ‘30 Under 30 Europe’.

For more information about the Entrepreneurship Prize, please contact:

Amy Ingle
Development Office
King’s College, Cambridge
T: 01223 331481

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