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James gets his teeth into another national business competition

Image of James with the early hapTEL dental simulators at King’s College London

An Open University alumnus has reached the semi-finals of a national business competition run by a charity that supports student and graduate entrepreneurs.

James Markey, a 29-year-old from Kingston upon Thames and pictured left with the early hapTEL dental simulators at King’s College London, is an Open Degree alumnus who studied business modules primarily. He has been shortlisted in the Tata Disruptive Business Category for his start-up business, Universal Simulation, which aims to revolutionise education by building the ‘flight simulator’ for dental and medical students.

The semi-finals of the Tata Varsity Pitch Competition, powered by NACUE (National Association of College and University Entrepreneurs) and in partnership with NatWest Entrepreneur Accelerator London, are online on Thursday 15 October. James will be competing against five other start-ups in his category, pitching online to a panel of expert judges. If successful, he will be invited to a bootcamp to gain mentoring and support before pitching in the virtual Grand Final on Friday 20 November with an opportunity to claim a £15,000 prize fund.

It’s an absolute honour to be recognised as one of the most disruptive businesses in 2020 by NACUE and Tata Group. This coincides with our first sale (to ADEMA University in Spain which has recently procured the first eight units) and the judges will be able to see the impact that this project is already having on dental and medical students. We believe this is a truly global opportunity to revolutionise education around the world and we look forward to bringing this dream to reality.

James Markey

James was already the OU Student Entrepreneurship Competition winner before more recently reaching the semi-finals of this year’s Santander Universities Emerging Entrepreneurs Programme.

Universal Simulation's first desktop simulator – The Model T

Universal Simulation's first desktop simulator – The Model T

Previously, he had successfully completed the Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs Programme at HRV Simulation in Laval, France, that specialises in haptic (touch feedback) and VR (virtual reality) technology. After visiting medical universities around the world, James was shocked that a majority still use plastic teeth and mannequins as their primary form of training. This prompted Universal Simulation’s journey to make a haptic and VR ‘flight simulator’ for dental and medical subjects to allow for a completely new type of training which is affordable to every university.