Diabetes patch proposal wins award for University of Leicester PhD student

A business proposal by a team of entrepreneurial students, led by a University of Leicester postgraduate, has scored an award in a national scheme.

YES22 drew to an outstanding conclusion with teams of Master’s and PhD students, postdoctoral researchers and technicians pitching their hypothetical start-ups. 

The Young Entrepreneurs Scheme (YES) is a global competition deploying ideas to come up with commercial solutions to some of the world’s most pressing health and sustainability issues. Ideas range from treatments for diabetics to using seaweed for plant-based protein powders. 

Patch Perspective, representing Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine and University of Leicester, won the prize for Best healthcare business plan, sponsored by GSK. The team pitched a skin patch to promote the healing of diabetic ulcers in patients. 

The team’s Chief Executive Officer was Charlotte Fawcett, a PhD student from the University of Leicester Department of Cardiovascular Sciences. 

Charlotte said: “YES22 has been an extremely helpful learning experience. I am delighted that we won 'Best Healthcare Business Plan' and that our hard work over the last four months has been recognised.”

The Patch Perspective team said: “Being part of YES22 has enabled us to develop commercial awareness and new business skills. Putting together our idea helped us delve into previously unfamiliar areas of business, with the support of amazing mentors. What we have learnt from YES22 we can take forward into our academic careers and beyond – as well as all the connections we’ve made!” 

“I have been involved in the competition since its inception in 1995, and year-on-year the quality of the pitches never fails to impress”, said Professor Malcolm Skingle CBE, Director of Academic Liaison at GSK. “It is so important that we encourage scientists and engineers to come up with solutions to tackle global problems through innovation-led opportunities. 

“YES provides a safe learning environment that furthers personal growth by allowing ideas to be shared without the fear of failure. I have seen many participants go on to start their own companies, move into business development positions and become experts in licensing and patents. 

“I would encourage everyone who took part to use and maintain the networks gained as the speakers, mentors and judges involved all want to help the next generation of business leaders.” 

Dr Hannah Noke, Deputy Director of the Haydn Green Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Nottingham University Business School, said: “Congratulations to all those who took part in YES22! We are extremely proud to welcome them to YES’s illustrious alumni group of over 6000. 

“It has been wonderful to have the first cohort of technicians join us this year. As an inclusive scheme, YES wanted to play a role in supporting technicians, and we achieved this by teaming up with MI-TALENT. 

“Thank you to all our stakeholders, speakers, mentors and judges - we could not do this without your support!” 

Dr Anji Miller, a Senior Business Manager at LifeArc said: “I’m immensely proud to have joined the judging panel for YES for another year. YES provides a fantastic opportunity for applicants to apply their business skills to innovative and potentially impactful technologies. Many of the participants progress through the LifeArc AUTM fellowship programme to become technology transfer professionals, assisting promising science to improve patient lives. Some of these individuals will be at the YES career event hosted on Monday 13 March.”