QUB student first undergrad to win top prize at Invent awards

  • Lewis Loane, who is studying electronics and electrical engineering at Queen’s University Belfast, was recently awarded the overall winner at the 2019 Catalyst Invent Awards, with a prize of £13,000.

    Lewis also won in the electronics category with his music tech, Signal Optimiser, an electronic signal device that improves the sound quality of amplified instruments.

    He developed the product after playing a guitar in a shop and noticing a disconnect between how music sounds when using different types of amplifiers.

    Lewis also set up his own company named TORANN earlier this year. He had approached QUB Students’ Union back in 2018 for help with this business idea and received personal advice and support from the Enterprise SU advisers.

    He then went on to win £6,000 in the Students’ Union’s ‘Dragons’ Den’ competition in 2018 and also £250 in their ‘What’s the Big Idea?’ programme.

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    Lewis then secured a fully funded trip to Nashville to undertake crucial market research. A further £10,000 was granted to him from Techstart, through their ‘Proof of Concept Grant Fund’ which provides financial support to tech entrepreneurs.

    The Catalyst Invent awards programme is open to early-stage start-ups who battle over a period of six months in the hopes of winning a share of the £33,000 prize pot.

    The awards presented £3,000 across six categories to each of the Invent 2019 winners.

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    Enterprise SU provided tailored support to five other students that entered the competition, resulting in Queen’s students winning almost half of the overall prize fund. The Students' Union support network said that it helps over 5,000 QUB students per year in their entrepreneurial endeavours, offering free guidance, competitions and external opportunities to help students make their business ideas a reality.

    If you are a Queen’s student and have a business idea of your own, QUB Enterprise SU can really help. Book a one-to-one with a business advisors http://www.qubsu.org/EnterpriseSU/Businessone-to-ones/

    Or sign up to this year’s ‘What’s the Big Idea’ competition – applications are now open! http://www.qubsu.org/EnterpriseSU/Opportunities/WhatstheBigIdea/

    RELATED: Students secure £15,000 at the QUB Dragons' Den

    About the author

    Niamh is a Sync NI writer with a previous background of working in FinTech and financial crime. She has a special interest in sports and emerging technologies. To connect with Niamh, feel free to send her an email or connect on Twitter.

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