Accelerate Places has announced the winner of its Manchester pitch competition – UniDosh, a new mobile app created for students to earn and save money.
Following an exciting live final in front of a panel of judges, UniDosh founders and recent graduates, Joseph Black and Oliver Jacobs, were awarded the £35,000 prize bundle.
Launched in Manchester during Freshers’ Week this year, the student marketplace app was designed to tackle the student financial crisis. It allows students to balance their work, study, social life and finances by buying and selling services via the app. Students can offer services and skills such as cleaning, music lessons, language tutoring, CV writing, hair and make up, and lifts, for other local students for a fee.
The prize presented to the UniDosh duo includes £5,000 cash, six months free desk space at Accelerate Places Manchester and the opportunity to work alongside like-minded peers in a collaborative, contemporary environment. The team will receive expert professional consultations on business readiness as well as web hosting, event marketing, PR, brand and business coaching, promotional video content and a professional photoshoot as well as expert mentoring to scale up their business. Prizes have been supplied by Manchester businesses such as UKFast, Dreamr, Toast PR, Fieldfisher, Campus Capital, Juke Media, Conspicuous Marketing and many more.
Accelerate Places hosted the competition at the workspace in the city centre on 31st October and entrepreneurs pitched their ideas in front of judges including Vikas Shah, and representatives from Blenheim Chalcot – backers of leading firms such as Clearscore, TDX Group, and Liberis – and around 20 other key investors.
Lisa Murgatroyd, Community Manager at Accelerate Places says: “UniDosh was the clear winner for the judges as it’s a unique proposition and it stands out as the first app of its type that could dominate the student sector. There’s no other student marketplace app like it and it can really enhance the student experience and avoid or relieve financial problems. It answers a real life issue by offering a safe and secure way for students to find or offer services. It is already commercialised and is certainly scalable, it keeps money within the student community, and there’s no real incumbent that could contend.
“While competition was high and all the shortlisted entries were strong contenders, the judges felt UniDosh has a real opportunity to capture a niche marketplace, and we look forward to seeing how they accelerate their business growth over the next year.”
Joseph Black, co-founder of UniDosh, says: “We’re so excited to have won the pitch competition! It’s a brilliant prize that will really help us with the next stage of the business and to have an award under our belts after just six months is a real landmark for us. We have around 3000 users signed up already and have taken nearly 200 bookings – this is just the beginning for us as we have some exciting growth plans to take the concept around the country to all Universities!”
“We spotted a gap in the market for a way for students to trade and share skills and services to earn money. Part time jobs are not always possible or convenient around studies, parents can’t always provide financial support and banks aren’t offering student loans so UniDosh gives students an alternative way of earning and saving money.”
Lisa adds: “We know that Manchester is full of talent and innovation and the pitches really showed us that. Tech is a huge growth area for the city and we’re delighted and excited to support entrepreneurs, start ups and scale ups in our co-working hubs.”
The Accelerate Places pitch night competition took place on 31st October hosted by Dreamr founder, Mylo Kaye, with judging led by Mark Onyett from Blenheim Chalcot. Refreshments were provided by Beastro.
Accelerate Places is based on Princess Street in Manchester and offers a collaborative environment, superior on-site network, support services and access to funding – all designed to support business growth.