Salford Business School student Lavinia Alexoiu won the “Building Bright Ideas” Tech Angels competition at Creative Entrepreneur 2016 with her pitch for an app designed to help students with their employability. Lavinia spoke to us about how she got involved with the competition, and how she plans to use the £1,000 prize money to take her idea forward.
Hi Lavinia! Why did you decide to enter the Tech Angels competition?
Alex Fenton is my tutor for two of my modules and he’s heavily involved in Creative Entrepreneur where the final project pitches take place. He told us about the competition and as I’m already doing the project that I presented as part of my course I thought it was a great opportunity to make it real and take it forward.
Did you enter Tech Angels as a group?
No, it was my idea. However, when I got my first feedback I was told I needed a developer in my team so I asked my best friend if he would like to join me. He liked the idea, so he joined me and we made a team.
Tell us about the idea you pitched.
It’s called The Bright Club. I noticed students are not very aware of what they need to do to improve their employability. The Bright Club creates a personalised career plan based on a student’s career ideas and helps them navigate their way to their dream job. It gives them ideas of societies they can join, events they can go to, summer internships they can apply for and other things like that that can improve their skills and give them a little more confidence before they actually apply for roles.
What did the pitch involve?
It was a five minute presentation and I needed to hit a few points in order for the judging panel to make sure it was an idea that they wanted to go forward with. I had to talk about what the app is, how it can be monetized and who it benefits. I made sure it was very clear so the judges got a good idea of what I wanted to achieve with it.
You must have impressed the judges.
What impressed them was I was very well organised. I knew what I needed to do from start to finish. I knew who my target market were and I took into consideration all the factors that would either get in my way or help me achieve my objectives.
How did it feel to win Tech Angels?
Lovely! It validated that my idea has potential to actually positively influence how students interact with employers. What I want to achieve the most is improving students’ confidence as I think that’s what stands in their way at the moment. I think through extra-curricular activities they can gain confidence so it’s nice to know my idea has the potential to help with that!
How are you going to develop the app?
We’re planning to trial it next September, so we’re currently working out how to develop it. First of all I’m going to ask students what they expect from it. Then we’re going to go through several design stages and at each stage we’re going to ask students what they think can be improved and what they think we can use. Then in September we plan to launch it for first-years. We’re mainly targeting this group as we think they’ll get the most out of it.
How have Tech Angels helped you with your app?
When I went through my first stage of feedback they were the ones that helped me understand better how I could monetize the app and make it sustainable. My initial idea was just to help students but the ways I had planned to monetize weren’t necessarily viable. They helped me understand the market better and figure out other ways I could monetize the application.
What are your aspirations for the future?
I have a graduate job lined up that starts in February 2018 but that’s a second plan. My main priority is to start my own business with The Bright Club being a part of that.
Thank you to Lavinia for sharing her story! The “Building Bright Ideas” competition in association with WA:UK Tech Angels is currently in its third year and offers an opportunity for University of Salford students to pitch an idea for a tech start-up to a panel of industry experts. Keep a look out for future opportunities to enter the Tech Angels competition on our Careers and Employability website.
Photography courtesy of Richard Meftah.