Budding sports industry entrepreneurs pitched for the investment to kick-start their business ideas recently as UCFB’s annual Sports Entrepreneur Competition came to a climax with the 18 shortlisted student teams descending on Wembley Stadium for a final round of judging.

Following unprecedented demand with 88 students from UCFB Wembley and UCFB Burnley submitting business plans in the competition’s initial round, the shortlist of 18 took their turn in formally pitching to UCFB’s top table of ‘dragons’, led by Chairman Brendan Flood, as well as Director Paul Fletcher and Steve Taylor, who lectures across business programmes at UCFB.

With Brendan Flood – himself one of the UK’s most successful entrepreneurs – funding an initial £5,000 of investment to the winner and £2,500 to runners up, the awards saw some excellent ideas put forward. Due to the extremely high calibre of students that took part and their ground-breaking ideas, five teams were selected as finalists with one winner and four runners up, rather than two runners up as initially intended.

The winners of the Sports Entrepreneur Award were Globall Sports, a unique business offering a glow in the dark football experience, targeted at children’s parties.

The four runners up included Vigor Sports App, an app which allows people to book sporting facilities and for providers to market and advertise sporting facilities; European Football School, a business organising summer football camps for children across Europe; Take Your Seat, a website that allows home and away fans to find the best and cheapest way to get to football games; and finally UK Football Business Magazine, a magazine publication based around the corporate world of football.

UCFB BA (Hons) Football Business & Marketing student and one fifth of the winning team, Global Sports, Emma Thompson commented on their success:

“We felt really confident going into the pitch with Brendan Flood as we knew that we had a great business idea so it’s amazing to win first prize, knowing that the judges felt the same as us. We’re grateful for this unique opportunity and excited to see the idea materialise into a successful business.”

All five successful teams will now receive personal mentoring and guidance from Brendan and the ‘dragons’ over the course of the next 12 months – hopefully leading to a raft of revolutionary products from UCFB students entering the sports market in coming years.