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Aston graduates reach final of Shell LiveWIRE Award

Shell LiveWIRE

19 November 2013

Aston University graduates who run their own innovative start-up businesses have reached the final of the 2013 Shell LiveWIRE Young Entrepreneur Award. 

After an arduous selection process, Mat Dusting and Jennifer Duthie will compete against six other finalists across three days to win the £10,000 funding award. 

Mat Dusting, who studied Industrial Product Design between 2007-2011 at Aston University, runs M-24, a company that fashions designer bags out of used lorry curtains and reclaimed seat belts. 

Management and Business graduate, Jennifer Duthie, set-up Skribbies, a children’s footwear brand that is completely customisable, after noticing a gap in the market.  

Each finalist, who must be aged 16-30 and have been running a business for less than 12 months to qualify for entry, had to first be chosen in the top four of a monthly Shell LiveWIRE ‘Grand Ideas’ competition. Out of the 48 winners over the last year, they were then selected into the final eight. 

Mat, who came up with his company’s business concept in his second year of University, said: “Throughout the process of setting up M-24 and entering the Shell LiveWIRE competition, I have found the skills I learnt and developed at Aston really beneficial. I was surrounded by forward-thinking people. It’s a really entrepreneurial University."

Jennifer, who left Aston University in 2008, said: “I thought back to when I was a child when I would fabric paint on t-shirts. It struck me what fun it would be to do the same with your shoes. After a lot of research, I realised no one else was offering a product quite like it and began developing my idea.  

“Winning would make a massive difference. The validation and confidence it would give me and the business would be just as crucial as the funding.”  

Winning would make a massive difference. The validation and confidence it would give me and the business would be just as crucial as the funding

The Shell LiveWIRE competition runs from November 19-21.

For further media information, please contact Jonathan Garbett, Aston University Communications on 0121 204 4552 or j.garbett@aston.ac.uk