Inspire Launch Grow 2021

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Student entrepreneurs behind three startup businesses were celebrated at the Inspire Launch Grow 2021 awards earlier in July. A grip-strengthening robotic glove, an app to connect restaurants with food suppliers and a satellite system to monitor forest health were all named winners by an expert judging panel.

The Inspire Launch Grow awards, run by Edinburgh Innovations the University’s commercialisation service, celebrate student and recent graduate enterprise. Each winner is awarded £5,000.

NextChain, the brainchild of undergraduate Armin Ghofrani and recent graduates Thomas Billam and Gauthier Collas, won the Emerging Enterprise category, sponsored by Balfour Beatty. Their app promises to improve the food supply chain process for restaurants, helping chefs say goodbye to phone calls, emails and paperwork and eliminate errors.

The founders of Bioliberty won the Impact Award for social enterprises focused on change for common good. Rowan Armstrong and Ross O’Hanlon have developed a lightweight robotic glove which strengthens grip and a digital therapy platform which helps develop natural hand strength.

Finally, masters student Thibault Sorret, won the Innovation Award for technology-based businesses with his startup. Wildsense monitors forest health using satellite imagery to help foresters better adapt to climate-change-related risks.

Lorna Baird, Enterprise Development Manager at Edinburgh Innovations, said: “It’s been an incredibly hard year for our student startups but throughout they have shown resilience, ambition and determination; showing us all that they can triumph even in a pandemic.”