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Immune-boosting tablet wins

A business venture to produce an immune-boosting tablet has won the opportunity to secure £250,000 of investment in a contest co-hosted by the University of East Anglia.

The China UK Entrepreneurship Challenge, organised by UEA’s Norwich Business School and the Bank of China, saw four teams compete to produce the best idea for a venture that promotes business ties between the two nations.

The Dragon’s Den-style contest received more than 100 entries and finalists were invited to present their ideas and business plans to a panel of judges at the Bank of China in London.

The winning BoxaBio team (pictured) from Oxford University impressed judges with a multi-functional vegetable tablet which uses natural food ingredients to help trigger the repair of the human immune system.

They will receive a slice of £12,000 in prize money, and an opportunity to secure £250,000 of investment for their projects from venture capital firms.

Director of research at Norwich Business School Prof Raphael Markellos, who was one of the judges, said: “The winning team came up with a product which fills an important gap in the market. We were impressed by their use of natural food ingredients to cure immune system malfunctions, which will be particularly effective for oral ulcers and balancing the digestive system.”

The competition aimed to encourage new commercial relationships between China and the UK and is intended to simulate the real-world process of entrepreneurs soliciting start-up funds from early-stage investors and venture capital firms. It was open to university teams in the UK and China and existing businesses.

Prof Markellos added: “It was a great day that demonstrated the critical role that universities such as UEA can play at a national and international level in promoting academic excellence, innovation and entrepreneurship.

“All the students, researchers, businesses and policy makers that participated gained valuable experience, contacts and insights. The business ideas presented have the potential for commercial success and for making a positive impact to the everyday life of millions of consumers in the UK and China.”

The second prize went to a team from Sheffield University with a business idea for new software which would give patients in China the chance to conduct reliable self-diagnosis out of hospital.

Teams from UCL took third and fourth prize, with their products Sellplex – a multiple e-commerse platform, and Bio Bean – a green energy company which recycles coffee grounds into biodiesel and biomass pellets.

The event was a joint venture between UEA (as part of its 50th anniversary celebrations), Lancaster University, University College London and the China Innovation and Development Association in the UK, with support from the British Council, the Chinese Embassy and the Chinese government.

It was also supported by the UK Department of Business, Innovation and Skills and speakers included head of International Innovation policy Dr Nick Rousseau.

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