Budding startups Crover and Lilypads were crowned winners of this year’s E Club Pitching Competition.

Lorenzo Conti of Crover took the top prize in the Novel Ideas round; he intends to build a moving sensor that can monitor the quality of grain stored in silos.

Lilypads wants to tackle the shortage of sanitary products for women in Sub-Saharan Africa. The company came top in the Venture Development category. The brainchild of Alison Wood, Lilypads wants to transform discarded bedsheets and towels from hotels in Kenya and turn them into re-usable and affordable sanitary pads.

Runners up:

  • Novel Ideas: Henry Don (Hourglass), Corentin Dugua (Mesh Sensing)
  • Venture Development: Raquel Wing (The Clean Hub), Jack McMillan (Unify Messenger)

They all share £5,000 in cash prizes to support their entrepreneurial ambitions.

Now in its twelfth year, the E Club pitching awards recognise the talent of students and recent graduates from the University of Edinburgh. Previous winners include James Turing, great-nephew of celebrated mathematician Alan Turing and founder of the Turing Trust, and Tipple Box’s Sonny Charles.

A consortium of entrepreneurs, students, alumni, researchers, faculty and staff from across the university, the E Club’s goal is to foster entrepreneurial spirit.

Last night’s awards brought to a close the Business School’s Startup Festival. Now in its third edition, this year’s gathering included founders from FreeAgent, Sticky Heelz, Mallzee and Mercat Tours and social enterprises Edinburgh Larder, Bon Accord Drinks and Edinburgh Tool Library.

During the course of 14 hours and through 16 free events, the festival saw more than 750 attendees come through the doors for talks, workshops, networking and expert one2one clinics in marketing and fundraising.

Drawing from the city’s own thriving ecosystem, the festival also included tours through FanDuel, Skyscanner, EIE Scotland and University of Edinburgh spin out companies.

Novel Ideas winner, Lorenzo Conti from Crover, said:

“I’d like to thank the Business School and E Club for their support, but most importantly for believing in my idea. I hope in a few years I’ll be able to come back with a working business that inspires other students to follow their own ambitions.”

Venture Development winner, Alison Wood from Lilypads, said:

“This money means so much. It’s going towards our first order for 1,000 girls in a Kenyan School, who are all keen on reusable sanitary pads. It means they can stop using cloth or leaves, or get conventional ones through unscrupulous and potentially dangerous sources.”


Image: Mhairi Cochrane (left) and Alison Wood (right) of Lilypads