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Published: 2nd November 2018

Student businesses repeat success in making Santander Universities Entrepreneurship semi-finals

For the second year in a row, the University of Plymouth’s two entrants in the Santander Universities Entrepreneurship Awards have both made it through to the semi-finals.

The competition has engaged over 1,000 student and graduate businesses across the country this year, with Santander Universities partner universities running an internal selection process to find a single entry in each of the technology and non-technology categories.

The University’s entrants, Smibbs Skincare in the non-technology category and EKO Robotics in the technology category, will now travel to London on Tuesday 3 July to pitch for their place in the national final, and a chance to win a share of the £90,000 prize fund.

To reach this stage, each had to submit details of their business model and a two-minute video, which Santander Universities’ panel of prestigious judges used to narrow the field down to just 60 semi-finalists.

Smibbs Skincare, led by MSc Planning student Joe Smithyman, is a natural skincare company born out of Joe’s personal experience of suffering from a skin condition. The business aims to help people ‘take back their skin’.

EKO Robotics is a team of multidisciplinary students and graduates led by current second year 3D Design student Joachim Tilling and recent BEng Mechanical Engineering graduate Avinash Sithale. The business aims to become a market leader in providing high-tech drone solutions to the targeted aid and relief sectors.

Both teams have been supported throughout by the University’s business incubator service Formation Zone, partners from Santander’s Business Banking and Santander Universities. Their videos were filmed and produced by University graduates at Pulse Studio in Plymouth.

Innovation Centres Director and Innovation Lead Bernard Curren said: “We are delighted that, for the second year running, both of the University’s entries are through to the semi-finals. The partnership between Formation Zone and Santander continues to strengthen, and it was great to again work with them to help our talented students reach the semi-finals.

“Congratulations to EKO Robotics and Smibbs Skincare, and good luck!”