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Winner looks to take bigger bite out of the market

05 March 2010

Lightbulb shining

An enterprising student who is now supplying the dental market with inexpensive dental equipment has been named this year’s winner of the Spark Business Idea competition.

Fourth-year School of Dentistry student, David Stone set up UKLoupes less than a year ago to make available high quality and affordable dental loupes to dental students early in their training. Loupes are a form of magnifying lenses suspended on a glasses frame to improve vision and posture during procedures, such as dental surgery.

In just 11 months, David has been able to develop an innovative business supplying these magnifying loupes to a much wider healthcare market including post-graduate trainees, SHOs and surgical practitioners.

The annual Spark Business Idea competition is organised by Student Enterprise in partnership with Banco Santander and the Santander Universities scheme. It offers a £1,000 prize to the best business or business idea from a University student. This year, seven businesses were short listed.


Dave said: "Loupes are highly useful to members of the dental profession, but are not widely used due to prohibitive prices. UKLoupes has widened access to this equipment to many dental students and other healthcare professionals at affordable prices with no noticeable difference in quality.

"It means a great deal to have won the competition. The judges certainly didn’t hold back. The feedback I had and now the funding will help to take the business to the next stage. Our plans are to encourage other dental schools in nearby universities to consider using loupes, and we are also exploring the possibility of targeting jewellers, tattooists and for use in the electronics field."

Two runners-up were also awarded with £500 cash prizes. David Stribling, School of Computer Science, for his fast growing online gaming community Lasuni; and Beth Coslett, Cardiff Business School for her unique make-up artist company, The Mua Beauty Shop.

The finalists faced a judging panel who considered the application in terms of both the business idea and the ambition and drive of the person making the application. This year’s judges included Cardiff alumna and successful entrepreneur Abi Carter, who herself set up Forensic Resources Science Consultancy with the support of the University’s Student Enterprise; Jeremy Jones, Director of market research company Fulcrum Direct; Phill Mullins, Small Business Manager in the Cardiff Branch of Santander; and Gareth Evans Head of Business Development in the University’s Research and Commercial Development Division.

Gareth Evans, said: "My congratulations go to all the finalists. All business plans were a good standard and well thought out; the presentations were interesting and showed good potential for all seven businesses."

The University’s Student Enterprise service has helped many award-winning companies to get the start they need. Student Enterprise offers a wealth of expertise and mentoring, advice about potential funding, as well as business space for students looking to develop a business or social enterprise.

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