Winning First Place At The University of Nottingham Ingenuity16 Awards

Alex and I have had some brilliant moments since we started trying to revolutionise the way that children learn languages with One Third Stories. Seeing a child read one of our books for the first time, receiving package after package of kid’s ideas for our competition, reading kind messages from parents who have just downloaded one of our audiobooks…they’re all milestones which tell us we’re on the right track and help us to power through when the work is hard and coffee pot is empty.

Well last night was another of those fantastic moments because we took home a whole host of accolades from the University of Nottingham Ingenuity 16 Awards. To be precise, we picked up The Ingenuity16 First Place Award, The Vice-Chancellor’s Entrepreneurial Potential Award, The Shakespeare Martineau Award, The Potter Clarkson Award and an Ingenuity16 Enterprise Award. Never have I been happier heaving a ridiculously heavy suitcase up the stairs.


Our haul for the evening

Seeing as it was during my time studying linguistics as a part of my English degree that I first dreamt up the Clockwork Methodology®, it was great to be honoured by the university. It was also a real pleasure to find so many other entrepreneurs coming from the same place!

In fact, there were over 450 teams who entered Ingenuity 16, with competing businesses made up of students, alumni and even members of staff. 300 of those were invited to a daylong boot camp of swapping ideas, receiving mentoring from industry experts and, most importantly, biscuits.

After that, we had to submit a business plan before being invited back to pitch to a panel of judges as part of the final 20 and then final 5. By this stage, the competition was really heating up and we were up against some fantastic businesses including cargo-bike manufactures Porterlight and Fanbytes, a brand engagement agency who count Disney and Ronaldinho amongst their clients- no big deal, right?

It all ended with a very swanky black-tie awards evening that I had to attend nervous and alone (Alex had been called away to an event at his own former university in Exeter). Thankfully, our names were read out early on as the winners of one of the prizes, which eased the tension a little. Then the night just kept getting better and better as I had to get out of my seat to collect awards again and again…

Trent building, University Park Campus- The venue for the awards evening. Photo credit to Tom Westford.

So what does all of this mean for One Third Stories? Well, first of all we’ve got the full support of the university’s Ingenuity Lab which will help us to keep developing the business. Then, of course, there are the grants and services that come along with the awards, which we’ve got all sorts of exciting plans for. As ever though, our focus will be on giving as many children as possible an enjoyable and entertaining start to their language education.

Now, I’m afraid I must end on a slightly Oscars-y note because we really wouldn’t have won these awards without all of you. So, to everybody who has downloaded an audiobook, watched a puppet show, liked a Facebook status, opened one of our emails, tweeted about us, told a friend about us, given us feedback, tried out one of prototypes, read a blog, written a blog, entered our competition, made us tea, written us lovely messages, or done any of the other 101 things that are helping us to keep making stories and teaching languages…THANK YOU.


Celebrating on the train home