The Enterprise team give out funding awards each year in order to support students testing out business ideas, developing existing ones or £10,000 to develop a new prototype. Read on to hear from some of our winners from last year who were granted funding of £10,000. For more information of how you can receive these awards, see here.
TakeIn is an alternative takeaway app developed by Soham Trivedi and Geeta Patel, left). The app delivers home cooked food directly to the user’s home. They were inspired by the idea of sharing authentically cooked meals and intend to challenge the idea that takeaway food is unhealthy. In 5 years’ time, they hope to become the biggest food delivery provider in the UK, as well as completely redesigning the British takeaway marketplace.
How have you interacted with the Queen Mary Enterprise Programme?
We entered the Queen Mary Enterprise Programme when we applied for the Build It award. Having entered online, we were contacted to prepare a short presentation followed by questions from the panel. Following this we heard that we have been awarded the funding and could being testing out our business idea.
What was the most useful aspect of the support provided?
It is valuable to have input from an experienced individual in the Enterprise team through appointments and they have provided us with inspiration regarding how to progress with our idea and where to find various resources. For example, they have connected us with The Prince’s Trust Enterprise Programme who have a lot of home food businesses that will be able to make use of our app. There is lots of support available that would otherwise be unknown to us.
What was your experience of taking part in the InQUBEate programme?
We did not participate in the programme, however Soham helped as a mentor and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. InQUBEate is a fantastic idea and will only get better as time goes on. It contributes to the merit of the University to know that there is a programme that is specifically designed to support entrepreneurs.
Would you recommend the Enterprise department to other students?
The staff on the Enterprise programme are always willing to support and help you to develop your idea in any way they can. We would both definitely recommend the Enterprise department to students who have existing business ideas and to students who are exploring the possibilities of a new idea.
What are your tips for other students that want to test out a business idea?
Make sure you are ready to put the work in and adapt where needed. Testing a product or idea is one of the most important aspects of the start-up process. If you are serious about your idea, it will become a big part of your life, both in terms of time and money. It is a big decision to start a business and you should be willing to adapt your plans and make sure you keep your vision in mind during this testing process.
Do you think students from any subject have the ability to set up a business?
To put it simply, yes! Any student can set up a business. We are students from Computer Science and Physics, but any subject can have its advantages. You can pick up many skills from your degree that can contribute towards starting a business.
What do you wish you had known before you started the business?
It would have been useful to know that the market was so open to a product like TakeIn. One of the initial challenges we thought we would come up against was people not being open to a new way of eating, and it stopped us from building the tech solution from the inception of the idea. If we had known this we could have started writing the site a lot early.
What have been your biggest challenges?
The biggest challenge has been the logistics of delivery. Since our product operates on a delivery window schedule, we need to ensure that we can visit every person who has ordered food in the most efficient way possible. We have a background in route mapping algorithms so had a good idea of where to start, however, getting this right was challenging.
Where do you see your business in 5 years’ time?
In five years, we believe TakeIn can be the biggest food delivery provider in the UK. We will provide a genuine alternative to the current takeaway marketplace. TakeIn will be a preferred platform for takeaway food, with high quality meals and a friction-less delivery system. It will remove the general idea that takeaway food must be unhealthy and will provide many more options for cooked meals. A long term goal for our company is to create not only hundreds, but thousands of opportunities for customers to make a stable income at home. This will create jobs for the chefs added to our platform and also for a wide network of delivery people.