Student Enterprise & SETsquared Surrey business, Labcycle, with co-founders Minal Patel & Colin Francis from University of Surrey have reached the semi-finals of a national business competition run by a charity that supports student and graduate entrepreneurs.

Minal Patel & Colin Francis, have been shortlisted in the Social Impact Category for their business LabCycle that decontaminates and recycles laboratory plastic waste, supporting sustainable research practices.

NACUE and the Tata group have worked together for over ten years and through this competition have joined in ‘Powering the Enterprising Generation’ to support talented and ambitious young people, committed to innovating their own career through enterprise and entrepreneurship.

Tata Varsity Pitch Competition, powered by NACUE (National Association of College and University Entrepreneurs), invites innovative young business owners to submit their ideas and business propositions. Alongside the £15,000 prize fund, there will be other benefits too – finalists will have access to significant in-kind support such as expert advice on business plans and how to professionally network a room.  The semi-finals will see LabCycle compete against 5 other startups in their category, pitching online to a panel of expert judges.

When: Thursday 15th October 2020

Where: The Tata Varsity Pitch 2020 Semi-finals event is being hosting online, in partnership with NatWest Entrepreneur Accelerator London

If successful, LabCycle will be invited to a bootcamp where they will gain mentoring and support before pitching in the virtual Grand Final.

The LabCycle team was formed at the 3 Day Start Up (3DS) Accelerator weekend hosted by University of Southampton in October 2019, where Colin and Minal from Surrey met Jinghui from University of Bath. From strangers to business partners over a weekend, they are the three co-founders of LabCycle. They all have STEM degrees with extensive laboratory experience. They developed their businesses while still on their postgraduate degree courses. Colin is a postgraduate in Entrepreneurship & Innovation Management. Minal is an EPSRC funded Engineering Doctoral Researcher (EngD) at University of Surrey and the National Physical Laboratory (NPL). Jinghui is Marie Curie FIRE PhD Fellow in Sustainable Chemical Technologies at University of Bath.

To date, the competition has received over 3,000 outstanding entries from aspiring entrepreneurs with an increase in quality year-on-year. Exceptionally high caliber startups have been actively involved in social enterprise, from repurposing waste chicken feathers into sustainable housing materials, reducing the amount of injuries of cyclists through projecting laser lights to avoid blind spots, to the development of aids to improve water sanitation in under-served communities, to the creation of a revolutionary itch-management products that aid children suffering with Eczema.

Speaking about their success, Minal said:

“We are extremely grateful for being selected. We look forward to the competition, meeting other entrepreneurs and learning about other exciting start-ups.”

The virtual Grand Final of the Tata Varsity pitch is on 20th November – we wish Labcycle the very best of luck!