Laszlo's truffle business will mushroom!

Published: 1 June 2012 at 16:25

Student scoops £15,000 first prize in Anglia Ruskin’s Big Pitch competition

Laszlo Csiba is celebrating after winning £15,000 in The Big Pitch student business competition at Anglia Ruskin University last night.

The 26-year-old from Mohacs, Hungary, has set up The Original Truffles Limited, a company supplying fresh local truffles and truffle products.

Laszlo, who impressed the seven-strong panel of business experts and entrepreneurs with his presentation, said:

“It is a very valuable experience and I am so glad that I could win this competition.  However, it is not only about the money, but also the things we have learned and experienced.
“I will use the 15k to create a website, develop own-branded products and take the necessary steps to grow British truffles.”

Spanish student Paula Albinana secured the second prize of £10,000 for CB – a real ale designed for the female market.  Eddie Shevlin from Hammer & Tongs took the third prize of £5,000 to help him grow his social enterprise which aims to provide arts resources for young offenders.

Over 150 people from Anglia Ruskin and the local business community attended the final on the East Road campus in Cambridge.  The seven finalists had all progressed past previous rounds which had seen them produce a short video pitch and submit a 2,000-word business plan.

The three winners of The Big Pitch, which is open to all Anglia Ruskin students, also receive 12 months free office space at the Anglia Ruskin StartupLab, mentoring from a successful entrepreneur, legal and financial planning workshops from Eversheds and Peters Elworthy & Moore (PEM), and a year’s free business banking with Barclays.

Ben Mumby-Croft, Deputy Director of the Centre for Enterprise Development and Research (CEDAR) and Senior Lecturer at Anglia Ruskin’s Lord Ashcroft International Business School, said:

“All of this year’s finalists did a fantastic job and are a real credit to Anglia Ruskin University.  The whole point of the competition is to identify entrepreneurial ideas and people who have the potential and passion to succeed.
“CEDAR is now looking forward to working with all of the winners over the coming year and providing professional mentoring and business advice to give each of our entrepreneurs the best possible chance of making their ventures a success.”

The judging panel comprised of Walter Herriot OBE; Peter Taylor, CEO of TTP Group plc; Paddy Bishopp Co-founder of Paddy & Scott’s; Natalie Haywood, Founder and Managing Director of This is Leaf Ltd; Chris Walklett, Partner at Peters Elworthy & Moore (PEM); Laragh Jeanroy, Partner at Peters Elworthy & Moore (PEM); and Michael Loffler, Partner at Eversheds.

Walter Herriot OBE said:

“The Big Pitch is rapidly establishing itself both as a key date on the University calendar and also on the regional entrepreneurial scene.
“The quality of the finalists and professionalism with which this year’s competition was organised is a real testament to Anglia Ruskin University and all of the sponsors and judges are already looking forward to next year’s event.”