£3k win gives football fans plenty to cheer!

Published: 22 May 2015 at 16:20

Students celebrate their success in Anglia Ruskin business start-up competition

Three football-mad Anglia Ruskin University students have won £3,000 to help kick-off their exciting new business.

Mohammud Hanif Ali, Ben Shimmens and Joe Marriott, all third year BSc (Hons) Business Management students, impressed the judges with their “Official Match Day Programme” idea in the Anglia Ruskin student business competition, fittingly called The Big Pitch.

Official Match Day Programme is a website and app which aims to improve the experience of football fans, and particularly ‘away’ fans, by providing useful information including details of local venues, such as pubs and restaurants, and offer useful travel advice including parking tips.

The Big Pitch competition, which is run by Anglia Ruskin’s Centre for Enterprise Development and Research (CEDAR), involves three stages.  Students have first to upload a 60-second video pitch to The Big Pitch website.  

Out of 99 pitches received this year, the top 27 entrants were invited to an enterprise bootcamp where they developed an executive summary and pitched this to a panel of experts.  The top seven won through to the final where they pitched their business idea to an invited panel of judges in front of a live audience.

In addition to the £3,000 start-up funding, Mohammud, Ben and Joe have also won 12 months’ free office space at the Anglia Ruskin StartupLab™, 12 months’ free business banking with Barclays, legal advice from Mills and Reeve, and monthly mentoring support from CEDAR.

Arsenal fan Mohammud Hanif Ali, who is 25 and from St Ives, said:

“The help and guidance received from the mentors and the whole CEDAR team has really developed our idea into, hopefully, a reality.”

Fellow team member Joe Marriott, who is from Banham in Norfolk, has been a Norwich City season ticket-holder for 16 years.  The 22-year-old said:

“The Big Pitch has been a brilliant experience and we never thought we would get to the final, let alone win £3,000.  
“The experience has been so informative and we have received so many useful contacts.  We can’t wait to start this business and make it a success.”

Ipswich Town fan Ben Shimmens, who is 22 and from Willingham, added:

“It’s been great to take part in The Big Pitch and it will be fantastic to see our idea develop into a solid, viable business.”

Paddy Bishopp, who was one of the judges in The Big Pitch final and is co-founder of Paddy and Scott’s Cafes, said:

“Innovation-wise I felt that Official Match Day Programme had really thought through their app and had successfully translated it into a viable business idea.  I look forward to watching their progress."