Date of release: Thursday, May 16, 2013

 An ingenious system for opening curtains remotely has landed a University of Greenwich student a £5,000 prize.

Mohammed Kabiri, 22, a third year Business and Entrepreneurship BSc student, came up with the idea for Glidetronic when his grandmother was having trouble opening and closing her curtains.

After being named as winner of the third annual University of Greenwich Business Plan Competition, Mohammed, from Wanstead, north east London, said: “The product is designed to fit on to any curtain pole and allows the curtains to move electronically.

I was inspired by my grandmother who has mobility issues. In the future, people will be able to control the device wirelessly with smart phones and tablets. It still hasn’t sunk in that I won. This has been a great experience and now I can focus on starting the business.”

Two runners-up received £2,500. Daniel Ardley’s Zabadoo is a commercial service which will help businesses get their websites higher up on google search results.
Maria Stanisor and Giordano Riccardi, presented The International Snail Farm, which will produce 30,000kg organic free range edible snails a year on three hectares of land in Romania to sell wholesale to the Italian and Romanian markets.
The university provided training to help the best students to develop their ideas and put together a strong business plan. Each student also had the support of a personal academic and the business community. A shortlist of the top ten finalists then had to impress an expert panel of judges with a 90-second pitch.

Professor Chris Birch, Director of Enterprise & Innovation in the university’s Business School, says: “We've seen 10 groups who have come through a long and rigorous process which will stand them in good stead, in terms of employability and confidence. We need confident, critical, curious and challenging people coming through our universities because that's how you challenge the status quo and move the world on.” 

Other finalists included Mark Berbeck, David Sarmiento and Nico Hoff. Their New Football Academy idea would provide 9-16 year olds with football training and academic support to promote the benefits of a healthy lifestyle.

Roxana Bucur has designed the Pers Chef Asst app which matches a user’s available ingredients, location, time available and expertise as a cook to find a recipe as well as ingredients locally and quickly.

Healers, from Bryan Mendez, is a plan to put vending machine in nightclubs to dispense flat shoes, costing £4, for women who want to swap out of their high heels.

Vanessa Houghton has created Enky, whichoffers disposable cameras to people in tourist attractions. The cameras are returned at the end, and the film printed and sent to the customer's address. 

Justin Goonan’s Universal Sports Training will provide safety and fitness programmes for young people. Bogomil Asenov presented Shirts on a Stick, a seamless, non-crease t-shirt wrapped around a stick.

The judges included Greenwich graduate, Charmaine Kemp, who is now running a successful business, Wheelie Good Mobility. Also on the panel were Geoff Hoodless, CEO of TheShareRepublic.com; Estelle Timothy, a Business Support Manager for Medway Council; Raaquib Mutvali, a strategy expert with PricewaterhouseCoopers; and Oliver Rothschild, Chairman of Oliver Rothschild Corporate Advisors. The competition was sponsored by TheShareRepublic.com, Quintain estates and Marketest.co.uk.

To find out about studying business at the University of Greenwich, please visit www.gre.ac.uk/schools/business

Alternatively, please e-mail courseinfo@greenwich.ac.uk or call 020 8331 9000.

Picture: Mohammed Kabiri, winner of the University of Greenwich Business Plan Competition, with Professor Simon Jarvis, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic Development)

Story by Public Relations