UHatch company picked for entrepreneurial event

28 April 2020‌

A business supported by GCU's entrepreneurial hub has been accepted onto the prestigious Santander Universities Emerging Entrepreneurs Programme 2020. 

The programme, in celebration of 10 years of Santander Universities supporting entrepreneurship, launches next month with a series of expert-led sessions and networking opportunities. 

Oakbank Innovations Ltd, launched by GCU graduate David Bennett, will attend an accelerator programme and pitch practice, before having the opportunity to pitch at the programme's grand final later in the year for the chance to win a share of £90,000. 

David Bennett, who studied Business Information Management at GCU, founded the company to help small businesses access Research and Development (R&D) tax relief. David has previously received seed funding from Santander Universities and is an active and engaged member of UHatch. His brother Steven, a current Electrical Power Engineering student at the University, is also involved with the business. 

David said: "We are delighted Oakbank Innovations has been selected for this year's programme. It provides a fantastic platform for us to grow the business by shining a spotlight on Research and Development tax relief, an area of funding which has long been overlooked by Scotland's small business community and, due to current global circumstances, could prove to a be a financial lifeline for many. We also relish the opportunity to work with and learn from experienced mentors and like-minded founders over the coming months." 

Jillian Watt, Director of the GCU Foundation, said: "David's company is a great example of the innovative businesses our graduates are establishing with support from UHatch and the opportunities it can provide for our students to get involved.  It is testament to David and Steven's hard work that they have been recognised through Santander's prestigious entrepreneurship programme.  Santander Universities provides such an incredible range of business support to our students and graduates, including financial, mentoring and training opportunities, and we are truly grateful to them." 

Mark Majewsky Anderson, Director of GCU's Research Innovation Office (RIO), said: "We are delighted to see success for another UHatch company. Oakbank has benefitted from our exclusive workshop programme and the one-to-one mentoring we offer, as well as a previous award from Santander in the early stages of the company. It shows that the package of support the team has devised can really help companies to grow and expand."