SPARK business competitions

Leeds Venture Competition in collaboration with Spark Student Enterprise


Key information

Event launch     September 25th
Simulation     October 30th – November 3rd
Event Finals     November 10th
Event Venue     Helix
Entry Cost     Free



This competition is being organised by the University of Leeds, Spark and the SimVenture team for the benefit of students studying at the University. The purpose of the event is to allow students to collaborate and work in teams and compete against each other using the business simulation ‘SimVenture Evolution’.
The two-stage competition has an online qualifying stage and then an in-person finals event on Friday 10th November 2023. Teams that perform best against the competition criteria in the online qualifying stage progress to the finals. Teams reaching the finals will be judged on their presentation and reflective skills as well as ability to run a simulated business. A prize fund of £2,000 will be shared with finalist winners.


The free-to-enter event is open to student teams from all 7 faculties at the University of Leeds. Student teams must consist of a minimum of 2 and a maximum of 4 people. Student teams entering the competition can comprise people from the same or different faculties although teams with a mix of students from different faculties have a greater chance of making it to the finals. To enter the competition, students within each team need to provide their name, email address, faculty of study and student number on the event registration page.

Inclusivity and Accessibility

We want to make this competition fully inclusive and accessible to all students in all the University faculties. To participate, student teams only need access to a computer connected to the internet. The finals will be held in the Helix building at the University of Leeds. Student teams requiring additional support to enable them to participate fully in the competition can provide details/requests on the event registration page. Should it be required, additional support will be provided by the organisers.

How to enter

Student teams enter the competition by submitting appropriate details on the event registration page.

Click here for registration page!

Details will include the name, email address, faculty of study and student ID number for all team participants as well as an overall team name. The registration will also ask teams to nominate a team captain so that the organisers have a single named person with whom to communicate. All registrations submitted before 20th October 2023 will automatically be entered into the competition. Registrations submitted after 20th October 2023 will not be valid. Each person within every team will be provided with login details so they can access a SimVenture Evolution license.

How the Competition works

Following registration, participating students will be provided with access to their own student license so they can learn how the simulation works and practice using the learning technology. The earlier teams enter the event, the greater their practice time.
A ‘Competition Scenario’ and participant brief will be visible to each license holder. The scenario brief will contain clear written information so all student teams know what they must do to give themselves the best chance qualifying in the online stage for the in-person finals on Friday 10th of November.
The qualifying stage of the event will run between Monday 30th of October and Friday 3rd of November. The University of Leeds and the SimVenture Team will analyse all team results against the brief provided and select the top 8 teams based on the criteria shared below.

How Teams reach the finals

A maximum of 8 teams participating in the qualifying stages will be selected for the finals on the following basis:

  1. Overall score achieved within the simulation in the qualifying round.
  2. Representation of all university faculties.

Teams qualifying for the finals will be informed by email no later than Monday 6th November. Teams reaching the finals can only include registered team members. Teams selected but unable to participate in the finals on Friday 10th of November must inform the organisers no later than Tuesday 7th November.

The Finals

The finals will be held in the Helix Building at the University of Leeds. The finals will be a whole day event running from 9am to 6.30pm and catering will be provided throughout the day.
Using the simulation, finalists will compete against each other. Finalists will also present to a judging panel how they ran their simulation and share learning from the whole experience. A winning trophy will be presented and all participants will receive a Certificate.


All data collected for this event will be stored and used in line with the University of Leeds and SimVenture GDPR policies.


Competition News

Sir Peter Thompson Enterprise Award


Top enterprise award is music to students’ ears


A product addressing a gap in the home music production industry, spotted by two Music, Multimedia and Electronics students, has won the University of Leeds’ Sir Peter Thompson Enterprise Award. 

The prestigious annual award, organised by the University’s business start-up service, Spark, comes with a huge cash prize of £5,000 generously gifted by Mr Michael Collins, Chairman at Goldcrest Custom Homes Ltd. 

This year’s winners are friends and business partners, Sol Harter and Matthew Twitchen (both 22), whose business venture, Ludwig Devices, will design and manufacture small affordable decibel meters for the burgeoning home music production community.

“The idea came about through a chance conversation,” explains Sol. “Matt and I are both music producers with home studios. We both independently tried to by a low-cost decibel meter designed for small production studios and neither of us could find one because such a product didn’t exist. We thought this was bizarre, considering how useful it would be to the huge numbers of ‘bedroom’ Producers, DJs’ and musicians.  It set us thinking that we had the skills and knowledge to design a low-cost version ourselves that amateur musicians could afford.”

The aim of their product is to prevent long-term hearing damage that can be caused by prolonged exposure to loud and persistent noise.  Matthew explains: “The threshold for hearing damage is 85 decibels, but the most popular and commonly used monitoring speakers for home studios have a maximum decibel rating of 100-110 decibels. There are decibel measuring tools available for building sites, factories and nightclubs but these products are not suitable – or affordable - for the home environment, so it’s an untapped market for us.”  

The Sir Peter Thompson Award requires selected students and graduate entrepreneurs to present their business ventures to a judging panel.  Mr Collins, who chaired the panel, said: Matthew and Sol had an exceptionally well thought out product and business plan. They were the only candidates for Sir Peter’s prize to have already thought about and incorporated responses to challenges and suggestions made by myself and the panel, or had a detailed plan to do so.

“It was very impressive.” Says Sol: “The cash prize is an incredible boost and we’re very grateful to Spark and to Mr Collins. It means we can now accelerate our plans and go straight from concept to an initial production run with minimal additional fundraising.”

Matt and Sol are already researching components for their first prototype and will be designing a custom Printed Circuit Board using the embedded systems development and design skills honed in their university degree.  They hope to be able to launch their first product in around six months’ time, with a first small run of around 500 units.  

Kairen Skelley, head of Student start-up at Spark, said: “The Spark team wholeheartedly encourages, supports and celebrates student enterprise across the board, whatever the inspiration or target market. But it is especially exciting to see Sol and Matt using knowledge and expertise gained from their degree studies here to develop a novel business venture with such great potential!”

Spark Business Plan Competition 


Organised by Spark, the University’s business start-up team, the prestigious Business Plan Competition is open to both undergraduates and alumni who graduated up to 7 years ago.

This annual competition awards prizes in two main categories: Pre-trading and Trading up to 24 months, with the winners of each receive a prize of £2,000.  Altogether, the total of prizes awarded this year approaches £10,000.

“We are always incredibly impressed by the high calibre of entries we receive from our enterprising students and graduates. The brilliant business plans we judged this year were from individuals across all faculties, leading to a diverse mix of applications, and this competition allows us to shine a spotlight on their talent, innovation and creativity”

Kairen Skelley – Spark’s Head of Business Start-Up


Business Plan Competition Winners 2023


First place in the trading category was won by Rosie Musk, a first-year student studying Business Management with Marketing. Rosie, a current Spark Enterprise Scholar, primarily focuses on coaching females through a subscription coaching platform, Team Rosie, offering 24/7 support to her clients in order to develop a correct understanding of a healthy lifestyle to ultimately reach their wellbeing goals.

“In regards to women in particular, I’ve seen first-hand how important community is, with clients regularly expressing their preference for team discussions, meet-ups and personal motivation”.

Rosie Musk


First place in the pre-trading category was awarded to third year Electronic and Electrical Engineering student Zachary Morgan for his business, Make Maths Easier. Make Maths Easier is a children’s educational platform for both mobile and web applications. Zachary has already created the mobile application and a website to display information about a child’s educational journey, creating unique worksheets and allowing teachers to track their pupils progress.

The USP of Make Maths Easier is the fact that there are no educational platforms that have specifically tailored educational lessons for pupils and then convey the results to teachers and we have managed to plug that gap”.

Zachary Morgan


Special recognition award Ritu Munshi currently taking an Msc Masters in Advanced Computer Science received a special recognition award from Spark for her business concept, The Closet Concierge, an innovative AI personal stylist providing customized fashion recommendations to users based on their personal style, body shape, skin tone, and occasion based on clothes they already own and clothes which they might want to buy.


The full list of winners: Trading category

First prize - £2000: Rosie Musk – Team Rosie Fitness Training

Second prize - £1250: Anatoly Safiulov – Studyply - an online educational platform

Third equal - £750: Sid Adams - My Adventure Project - a UK based Australian travel agency

Third equal - £750: Russell Ives – So Papo’s – agave based cocktails



The full list of winners: Pre-trading category

First prize - £2000: Zachary Morgan - Make Maths Easier – online maths educational platform

Second prize - £1250: Sol Harter & Matthew Twitchen - Ludwig Devices - decibel meters

Third prize - £750: Ziah Shamil Bicha - The Trailblazers of Yesterday – children’s books


Spark special recognition award

Ritu Munshi- The Closet Concierge – AI personal stylist


Watch this space for future competitions