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The University of Southampton

Student engineers win business awards

Published: 9 November 2022
The Elecy e-bike
Computer image of The Elecy e-bike.

Student entrepreneurs from the University of Southampton have taken top prizes at the grand final of the Engineers in Business Champion of Champions innovation competition.

At the event hosted by TV presenter Rob Bell at the Royal Academy of Engineering, Tamara Ivancova, an aeronautical engineering undergraduate student, won first prize in the Big Ideas category. Tamara won £4,000 in prize money and other business perks including mentoring and promotional support.

Tamara is the founder and director of Amara Automotive and is developing The Elecy, a 4 wheeled e-bike, designed for cycle lanes, which minimises travel time cost and emissions without compromising on safety comfort or practicality.

Christian Toma and Grace Lam from team AMRSS were runners-up in the Start Up Business category, winning £1,500 in cash.

Christian and Grace who recently graduated with a master’s degree in engineering founded AMRSS to develop AI solutions for aerodynamic performance analysis. This helps engineers improve decision-making throughout design, test and deployment stages of new technology.

These successes come after both teams won the regional Southampton competition run by the University’s student enterprise team. Tamara, Christian and Grace then pitched their innovations against eight other teams in the grand final for a share of prize money worth £15,000.

Engineering prize winner, Tamara Ivancova.
Tamara Ivancova, won first prize in the Big Ideas category.

Reflecting on the prize, Tamara said: “Taking part in the competition and winning has been a big boost for Amara Automotive, we’ve received great feedback and are really excited about having a mentor on board.

“I’m really proud of also winning the Pre-Show vote and the live Audience Vote, the amount of support received is very exciting!

“The money we have won will speed up the construction of our first full-scale prototype, a very exciting step for Amara Automotive.”

Speaking about their success with AMRSS, Christian said: “It was an incredible opportunity. This is something that will be invaluable to our company and brand.

“The prize money will help to support our development of both the technology and the business so we can continue and experiment to develop a better product.

“The next step is to validate our technology in a commercial setting to show potential future customers and for AMRSS to become the industry standard for real-world, real-time aerodynamic performance analysis.”

Tamara, Christian and Grace tapped into the University’s Foundership Scheme to develop their ideas. This scheme provides grants for students to dedicate time in the summer months to work on their business, with co-working space available at Eagle Labs Southampton, and support from a fantastic array of speakers.

The competition is organised by the Engineers in Business Fellowship which champions business education for engineers. These grants enable universities to inspire more engineering and technology students to participate in innovation and entrepreneurship and develop skills for their careers.

You can watch the 2022 Grand Final here.

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