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QMU student business in the running for £30,000 in Santander funding

Posted: 31st August 2020

Queen Margaret University graduate and co-owner of S’wheat Jake Elliott-Hook is in the running for up to £30,000 of business funding as part of Santander Universities ‘Emerging Entrepreneurs’ programme.

Jake Elliott-Hook, who runs S’wheat – the Edinburgh based start-up company behind the world’s first plant-based, double-ended water bottle – with co-founder Amee Ritchie, is one of 83 entrepreneurs participating in Santander Universities business acceleration programme.

The programme is dedicated to supporting student and graduate start-ups and helps emerging entrepreneurs understand how to get the most from their business. It also includes a unique educational experience led by a series of innovative businesses and speakers including Lesley Stonier, Founder, We Mean Business and Jeremy Snape, former international cricketer and Founder and Managing Director of Sporting Edge.

QMU graduate Jake Elliott-Hook, who runs S’wheat with co-founder Amee Ritchie

At the end of the programme, participants will pitch for one of eight places in the live virtual final, which will take place on 29 September 2020. If participants get through that round, the will then pitch to a panel of judges and the two winning entries will receive £30,000 of seed funding each and a fully funded Santander intern. The programme also includes a Crowdfunding challenge, where the businesses will have the chance to work with the team at Crowdfunder to create a campaign for their business and be in with a chance to receive a cash prize of £6,000, alongside any funds they may have raised during the challenge.

Jake Elliott-Hook said it has been great getting to work closely with the team at Santander, their business support has proven to be very beneficial to the development of our business especially during these uncertain times.

“Myself and Amee were thrilled to be accepted into the competition and we are both really excited to have the opportunity to pitch our company S’wheat in the upcoming finals.

“The funding offered by Santander would allow us to expand our company enabling us to develop a dedicated marketing team. Along with this, Santander would provide an intern who would also join our team and assist with videography and photography.

“We are both extremely grateful to have the opportunity to pitch our company to Santander and we are looking forward to the upcoming finals,” Jake said.

Matt Hutnell, Director of Santander Universities UK commented: “We’re delighted to celebrate 10 years of supporting entrepreneurship with our dedicated new programme for student and graduate start-ups.

“Adapting to the current environment, our new digital offering will support young entrepreneurs with their innovative business ideas particularly in light of present-day challenges and ensure the immense array of entrepreneurial talent from across our partner universities all have a chance to pitch at the national final later in the year.”

Miriam Smith, Business Development Manager at QMU, said: We are immensely proud of Jake and Amee, and all they have achieved so far.

“S’wheat’s success exemplifies QMU’s collaborative approach to nurturing innovation and entrepreneurship.”

Since the competition launched in 2011, Santander Universities has awarded more than £500,000 in support of student start-ups across the UK and given universities the chance to showcase entrepreneurial talent from across the country. Overall, Santander Universities has provided over £2.5m of funding each year to support entrepreneurship at its 85 UK university partners.

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Business Comment is the Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce’s bi-monthly magazine. It provides insight on Edinburgh’s vibrant business community, with features on the city’s key sectors, interviews with leading figures and news on new business developments in the capital.
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