The University of Kent has announced student Mercy Adeniji as the winner of Kent Business School’s 2021 Business Start-Up Journey Awards, with her vegan food delivery service VeGate.
School of Economics student Adeniji developed her business idea after noticing a gap in the market for sourcing deliverable ethical and vegan food products in one place.
Adeniji and seven other business hopefuls faced a panel of experts including Daniel Rubin, founder and CEO of the global footwear brand Dune London and University of Kent alumnus Laura Bounds MBE, owner of award-winning Kent Crisps, to win first prize in the Dragons Den style pitching competition. Adeniji victory prize was £1,000 investment into her VeGate business.
Of winning, Adeniji said: ‘For as long as I can remember I have aspired to launch my own business, I’ve wanted to go on The Apprentice and be an entrepreneur. I want to do it for the right reasons – for the environment and greater good. It feels so crazy to have won the competition. Studying from home, during a pandemic it was hard to stay motivated but VeGate – a vegan delivery service platform – has been my driving force.’
The Business Start-Up Journey Awards is a co-curricular programme of practical workshops offered by Kent Business School. It is open to students from any school or faculty at the University of Kent, at any level of study from stage 1 undergraduate to final year, postgraduate and PhD. The Journey, which is part of the University’s Study Plus programme, takes students through the process of starting a business – from finding an idea, testing it, establishing finances and start-up costs, to pitching to investors.
The runners up were the UniConnect Team of students with a platform that connects students, alumni and staff from the same university and Viktoria Bogos with Fliplight, a light ring attachment for smartphone cameras. They received £500 in investment each.