Sunderland students in enterprise award finals with mobile phone ticket idea

(l-r) Daniel Hamilton, Sheehab Ahmed, Krzysztof Sroka, Matthew Lane, Sarah Russell, Ian Elliott, Bethannie Cockburn, David Cox

(l-r) Daniel Hamilton, Sheehab Ahmed, Krzysztof Sroka, Matthew Lane, Sarah Russell, Ian Elliott, Bethannie Cockburn, David Cox

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A GROUP of enterprising University of Sunderland students have a ticket to ride all the way to the finals of a prestigious national competition.

Eight second-year computing students beat 1,700 undergraduates nationwide to reach the final of the Santander Business Start Up Awards 2013 with their mobile phone ticketing solution called “SoloTicket”, which allows travellers to buy a Metro ticket with their phone.

The awards final, held at Level 39, the new Technology Accelerator Centre at Canary Wharf, involved students presenting their business ideas to a group of judges taking on the role of potential investors with £100,000 capital to put into the most promising idea.

Although the project did not win, team leader and software developer Krzysztof Sroka said the experience had still been extremely useful.

“Presenting our software idea to the panel of judges was a real eye-opener,” he said. “It gave us an opportunity to see what software development companies must do to present their business ideas in order to secure the capital investment needed to take their ideas forward. Understanding that your competitors are trying to take that investment capital away from you, really makes you focus on ‘selling’ your product to the judges as an innovative and viable solution.”

The university is a key partner in the Sunderland Software City project, which aims to make Wearside a world centre for the industry.

Chief executive David Dunn said: “A huge part of Sunderland Software City’s role is inspiring and developing the next generation of software talent, and helping local young people see software as a realistic and rewarding career option.

“The North East software industry will only continue its recent rapid grow if enough local talent comes into the industry, and the region’s colleges and universities play a vital part by ensuring students are given the right education and environment to develop.

“I never ceased to be amazed at the ideas students generate, and it’s exciting to think this competition could be the start of the North East’s next software success story.”