University of Edinburgh innovators honoured at Inspire Launch Grow

Aspiring entrepreneurs from the University of Edinburgh have been rewarded with prizes of up to £5,000 at a ceremony celebrating innovation.

Inspire Launch Grow is the annual competition for entrepreneurial staff, students and recent graduates of the university. Picture: Maverick Photo Agency.

Inspire Launch Grow, an annual competition for the university’s entrepreneurial staff, students and recent graduates, celebrated inventions including human-like skin for robots, personalised synthetic voices, and environmentally friendly sanitary products.

Winners from five categories, judged by established entrepreneurs and business advisers, were presented with their awards at the ceremony, hosted by the university’s commercialisation service Edinburgh Innovations at the Playfair Library.

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More than 100 guests attended the event, including members of the investment community who regularly support start-ups and spin-outs launched by university students and staff.

All of the winners are clients of Edinburgh Innovations, which provides free services to students, staff and recent graduates to commercialise their ideas or research discoveries. Finalists had previously pitched their businesses and social enterprises to the judges.

Alice Smith, who scooped the Emerging Innovation Award for Staff with Lovisa Wihlborg for their Speak:Unique voice technology, said: “We’re at an exciting moment where we’re ready to launch as a spin-out company and reach people we couldn’t reach as a research project.”

Other winners included research fellow Luca Cassetta, who took the Innovation Cup for his company Macomics, which is developing antibody-based cancer therapeutics.

George Baxter, chief executive of Edinburgh Innovations, commented: “The finalists have come up with some amazing ideas and shown the necessary enterprising spirit and energy to take them forward as solid business propositions.”