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The University of Bolton students are celebrating after successfully winning cash in the second round of bids to help them get their business ideas off the ground.
And two of them, Carol Grech and Eboni-Rose Williams, are doubly delighted, as they also successfully bid for money in the first round of the Bolton Ignition Fund (BIF), an initiative run by the University for students or recent graduates.
First prize winners of the second round were Margaret Cromarty and James Storey, whose Community Interest Company (CIC) arranges temporary accommodation for refugees.
They secured £5,000 for Bolton Housing, Care and Support CIC, which has arranged temporary accommodation for refugees who have to leave to remain in the UK, and have just 28 days to leave the government-funded accommodation (NASS – National Asylum seekers support).
Margaret said: “We support clients in temporary accommodation in and around the Bolton area.
“Our aim is to reduce homelessness by providing temporary accommodation, support, and advice to clients with a view to finding them their home, with further outreach support if needed.”
Student midwives Alisha Doherty, Helen Rose, and Maryam Ghorbani were also successful.
The three are passionate about improving communication in maternity services and addressing the issue facing women with language barriers.
Alisha said: “We decided to come together to create a book with useful sign language images to aid communication between deaf women and families and healthcare professionals during pregnancy.
“The book isn't meant to replace a translator, but to aid in the small conversations where there isn't always an interpreter available.
“Our first product will be a maternity-specific British Sign Language and then we hope to move onto multiple other languages.”
Alisha added: “We applied to the Bolton Ignition Fund and won £3,000 to help fund our first round of prototypes, as well as £2,000 worth of business consultations.
“We are over the moon and can’t wait to show everyone what we have produced. We are so grateful to Bolton University and Jane Stuart-Puttnam and her team for this incredible opportunity.”
Student midwife Carol, who is a mum of six, is launching a mother and baby well-being service, called Baby Blossoms and says she was delighted to win cash support in both rounds.
She said: “I am very pleased to see Baby Blossoms grow. I want to create a space where mothers can learn new parenting skills, gain confidence and connect with their babies and each other. I will achieve this through education, baby massage classes, nature and nurture walks, as well as wellbeing retreat days.
“I am so grateful to have received financial and business support from the Bolton Ignition Fund.”
The latest amount of £3,000 has enabled her to secure regular studio space in Horwich, equipment, business insurance, and promotional material.
Eboni-Rose’s winning idea was to produce 3D-printed dental models and specially-made impression trays to make the dental laboratory more efficient.
The £2,000 she has just been awarded will allow her to develop from a testing phase to buy equipment, including a 3D dental scanner so she can begin trading with her business, Digidental Technology, soon.
Eboni-Rose said: “I am so grateful for all of the opportunities and excited for the future of Digidental Technology.
“I have a business mentor and advice from industry experts which will benefit me greatly, as well as the support of fantastic weekly Enterprise classes run by the University of Bolton.
“The support offered by the University is amazing. I feel so lucky to be a student here.”
Jane Stuart-Puttnam, Enterprise Co-ordinator at the University of Bolton, said: “As in the first round, we received more excellent applications for the fund in round two.
“Carol and Eboni-Rose demonstrated excellent business ideas the first time around and it was felt that they deserved to win in the second round to help them build on the already strong foundations.
“We look forward to continuing to support all the successful applicants on their enterprise journeys.”
If you're a student with a HOME status and have an idea you would like to submit to the Bolton Ignition Fund, please click here to register your interest.