photograph Student company escalates to success in Europe


FIVE students from Newcastle University Business School, were declared European Start Up Company of the Year after they took part in the JA-YE Europe Enterprise Challenge 2012 in Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), this month.
Team Escalate travelled to South East Europe, competing against 15,000 students from 11 countries all across Europe, to clinch the prestigious title with their innovative golf accessory, the Dry-ver. 

The Dry-ver is an ingenious golfing towel, that repels water on one side and stays dry on the other.  It is a double-sided cloth which allows golfers dry their hands - and keep their grip on the clubs - even if it is pouring. After developing various prototypes the team has now secured patent pending status for their towel and are applying to trademark the name. Escalate plan to market the first batch of towels locally in North East England and are seeking investment to produce the first 1,000 towels via the team's contacts in China.

After presenting their business to the judges, team Escalate faced a gruelling 10 minute interview with a panel of industry experts.  It was finally announced that their product, and the overall team ethic, was worthy of first place.

As well as winning 1,000 Euros, the winners have been automatically entered into the Intel Business Challenge 2012 in Poland, this September.

Prior to this event, the group of students - who study business, marketing and management - had won the regional title of Start Up Company of the Year in May, where team Escalate had beaten off stiff competition from 300 other students.  

Faye Longridge, managing director of Escalate commented on their win:

“We are thrilled to have won this prestigious award and have had an amazing experience in during our time in the country. We've met lots of inspiring young entrepreneurs with great business concepts. We are looking forward to continuing our journey and truly believe in the potential for Dry-ver to revolutionise the golfing market.”

Team Escalate were created as part of the business enterprise module at the Business School that has been written and run by Angela McLean, managing director of Fast Forward Now, for ten years.  The module is underpinned by the Young Enterprise Start Up Programme which enables undergraduates to set up businesses whilst studying their degree which is co-taught by Dr Panagiotis Piperopoulos, lecturer in enterprise and creativity.

The business enterprise module is taught from an entrepreneur’s perspective, and allows students to grasp how academia and the practicalities of running a business can be combined in a real business environment. 

The winning team were helped along their path of success by Anelise Siddle, business and management graduate from Newcastle University Business School.  Anelise, who graduated with a first class honours degree last year, took part in the same module as team Escalate during her time at University.  She is now employed by Angela as business manager at Fast Forward Now and helps to facilitate the business enterprise module. 

Anelise, who travelled to FYROM with the winners commented on their success:

”I am really delighted to have been with team Escalate over the last few months to help guide them through their module.  I am so proud of the team and their success in these awards.

”My work with the University, my past experience of the business enterprise module and the help from Angela at Fast Forward Now have all had a huge impact on my learning and my ability to contribute and give advice to team Escalate, I am over the moon for them and pleased to have been a part of it.”

Angela, who teaches at Newcastle University, commented on Anelise’s contribution to the students’ success:

“This is a great story about knowledge transfer – I spotted Anelise as being an exceptional student on the business enterprise module two years ago and mentored her, and the Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE) team.   By studying the business enterprise module and managing SIFE, Anelise has learnt many skills regarding business start up and presenting to investors. 

“Her previous experience of studying business at the University has been invaluable as she now facilitates with me on the module, and was given the task to coach Escalate through the competition in which she has done an exceptional job.”

published on: 13th July 2012