Date of release: Monday, May 19, 2014

Albert Martin, right, with Vice-Chancellor Professor David MaguireA new kind of shoe which has all the benefits of walking barefoot has won the University of Greenwich’s annual Business Plan Competition.

The £5,000 prize went to Albert Martin, 27, a Final year Business and Entrepreneurship student, who impressed the judges with his idea for BareSyn, which he hopes to have in the shops by the end of the year.

Originally from Barcelona, Albert now lives in Greenwich. He says: “This is the first of its kind – a hybrid of a brogue type shoe and a “barefoot” shoe – the kind that looks like a glove for the foot. It’s my own design using a new material. The sole has great grip and has the benefits of walking barefoot, which can work the muscles and ligaments. Because it is wider than a normal shoe it can also help the bones.

“This competition has been a great help to me - just being in a position to have my business plan assessed properly was brilliant. This money will go straight into my business.”

The university provided training to help the best students to develop their ideas and put together a strong business plan. The 150 entrants were whittled down to 12 finalists. Each student also had the support of a personal academic and a member of the business community. Each was interviewed by the judges before pitching their business plan to the audience at the final event. 

University Vice-Chancellor Professor David Maguire says: “Congratulations to Albert on winning against some tough competition – the standard of entries has been first class once again. This competition is part of our commitment to ensuring our students have the opportunities to gain the skills needed in today’s workplace. This reflects our long track record of working closely with industry and commercial partners. All of the ideas presented have the potential to be winning businesses and we look forward to celebrating the future successes of these students.”

Sanchia De’Cage came runner up, winning £2,500, for Head Start ASD, which arranges specialist training for people who are working with children that have behavioural problems.

Two people shared third place, each winning £1,250. Therese Ilk’s Blossom Kidzprovides weekend childcare at a nursery in Maida Vale, and Yvonne Platt’s Yvies cupcakes allows a bouquet of cupcakes to be transported hygienically and in one piece thanks to a slide-in box and vase, which the cakes are built around.

Judges included Tony De Nazareth, chairman of Crowd for Angels, is a regulated crowd funding platform for companies seeking equity and debt funding; Greenwich graduate Charmaine Kemp, who is now running a successful business, Wheelie Good Mobility; Oliver Rothschild, chairman of Oliver Rothschild Corporate Advisors; Mike Orchard, entrepreneur and founder of Skills Hive; and Simon Chignell, strategy consultant for PricewaterhouseCoopers.

The event was sponsored by TheShareRepublic.com and Marketest.co.uk.

For more on 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.

Story by Public Relations