E-Factor is the University of East London’s annual competition which aims to help budding entrepreneurs take their business ideas to the next level. The winner is awarded £6,000 to help start their business idea as well as free use of the University’s business hub, Knowledge Dock, and access to services offered, which include mentoring and PR support.
The grand final gives contestants the opportunity to pitch their idea, Dragons Den-style, to a panel of judges. Due to the global pandemic, this year’s final took place virtually. The 2020 panel of judges were:
- Professor Amanda Broderick, vice-chancellor and president of the University of East London
- Charlie Blair, founder of The Blair Academy and the 2019 winner of E-Factor
- Seun Oshinake, CEO of Silent Secret and the winner of the Social Change Rising Star Award
- Andy Davis, angel investor at Atomico, director and partner at Backstage Capital
- Nick Howe, enterprise manager at NatWest
The six finalists were selected after entering the competition and taking part in a business bootcamp which was delivered virtually due to the global Covid-19 pandemic.
Kadeza Begum, E-Factor project manager, said, “This year’s E-Factor has posed many challenges as well as opportunities. Although the current pandemic affected our application numbers, we still had 119 people enter the competition.
“The six finalists this year are a testament to the University of East London and a wonderful snapshot of our student body and subject strengths as an institution. I wish them all the best with their start-ups and awaiting success.”
Professor Amanda Broderick, vice-chancellor and president of the University of East London, chaired the panel of judges. She said, “I am delighted to see so many inspiring ideas from this year’s entrants. I have every confidence that each of the ideas has the potential to launch as a business and succeed in today’s market.
“All entrepreneurs need to be comfortable with being uncomfortable and communicate their business idea with passion. I would urge each of the finalists to utilise their experiences and build on what they have learned.
“E-Factor is a wonderful example of how students benefit from the University of East London’s focus on careers. We have so many resources available to budding entrepreneurs. Congratulations to everyone who made the final – I hope you continue to make use of the University services available to you as a student or alumnus.”
The other five E-Factor finalists were:
- Ronnie Jacobs with his idea of Jreep – a series of workshops to provide filmmaking experience to children who otherwise would not have the opportunity
- Szabina Somogyi with her idea of Conscious Power Retreats – a retreat to help people retrain their mind and learn new wellness techniques
- Theeba Krishnamoothy with her idea of Tamil Tales – an ethically sourced fashion brand to sell tote bags
- Hessam Zolfaghanifard with his idea of Striker.ai – an artificial intelligence website to analyse websites and provide recommendations on how to improve engagement
- Amadou Kesserate with his idea of Sapéscome Jamias – a street and urban clothing line inspired by African culture blended with contemporary fashion