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MBA student’s global award success

Open University Business School MBA student James Markey has won a prize at the Santander X Global Awards, Santander’s prestigious international university entrepreneurship competition with his company UNI SIM.

The Santander X Global Awards brings together the best start-ups across Europe and South America to compete to win funding and support to help develop their businesses. Haptics company UNI SIM, winner of the Santander X UK Awards in November 2022, was the only UK business accepted to compete in the Global Awards in the ‘Accelerate’ category (for growing businesses). They topped strong competition to win a cash prize of ten thousand euros at the final, which took place during the 5th Universia International Rectors Summit in Valencia, Spain in May.

UNI SIM, based in Portsmouth, designs haptic and virtual reality (VR) simulators, which are revolutionising medical education. The technology they develop is being used to train the next generation of dentists, nurses and doctors around the world, and includes kits that teach everything from how to administer a lumbar puncture to oral surgery.

On winning the award James said:

I am over the moon to have won this award. It’s huge for UNI SIM to be recognised in front of more than 700 university leaders and Vice-Chancellors and it has already led to an influx of enquiries.

The funding will help us continue our mission to revolutionise worldwide education with more affordable haptic and VR training solutions to reduce single use plastics and save patients from being practised on.

The support from The Open University has been phenomenal and we wouldn’t have been able to achieve everything we have done without it.”

Founder James, who has an Open degree and is studying towards an MBA from The Open University, devised the idea for UNISIM while he was studying and he used the knowledge gained from his OU qualifications to write and submit his business plan to the OU’s Open Business Creators fund, a competition which gives OU students the opportunity to win a grant to kick start their ideas. He won £1,500 which enabled him to buy equipment like VR headsets to turn his plan into a reality. Since it launched in 2019 the company has gone from strength to strength, taking £150,000 in revenue in its first year with figures this year nearing half a million pounds. They have also just launched a brand-new simulator which has a pre-order with a university in Morocco, so James and his colleagues are feeling very positive about the future and look forward to collaborating with world leading universities as they continue to expand and scale the business.

This article was originally published on The OU news website; click to read the original article.

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