Belfast Engineering Students are Finalists in National Business Innovation Competition

Back to News

On 28 October 2019 engineering students, graduates and postgraduates will compete for a prestigious Engineers in Business Competition award and a share of a £10,000 prize pot. 

Ten teams from UK universities have been short-listed to pitch their business innovations at the Champion of Champions Grand Final at the Royal Academy of Engineering – the awards ceremony will be attended by Lord Sainsbury of Turville, the patron of the Engineers in Business Competition (EIBC).

Ben Lindsay, a Product Design Engineering student and Emma McQuiggan, a Mechanical Engineering student at Queen’s University Belfast are the Stand team. They have invented BOLD, a discrete safety alert system, integrated into women’s jewellery, providing confidence through a simple connection. 

BOLD’s discrete design is a piece of contemporary jewellery which blends in with the wearer’s everyday attire. Should the wearer find themselves in an uncomfortable situation, a press of the button on the side of the jewellery sends a location and text to several pre-defined safe contacts without using a mobile phone. To achieve this, BOLD uses a new low power mobile standard called NB-IoT, which allows it to be much smaller and more discrete than any other previous technology.

Commenting on what inspired the creation of BOLD, Emma McQuiggan said: “Throughout my time at university I have walked home late at night from the library or a friend’s house. I was constantly worrying, and fear surrounded me. This made me think of all the women and men who constantly feel like this, lacking peace of mind and feeling unsafe. We wanted to do something about it. BOLD is a piece of smart jewellery that allows people to contact their loved ones at the press of a button. Its discrete, stylish design means that anyone can wear it, anywhere. BOLD provides confidence through a simple connection. We’ve spoken to charities in the area and they are crying out for a product like BOLD. This has enthused our passion for the issue and made us even more determined to get BOLD to market.”

The Engineers in Business Competition inspires engineers to gain business skills through their university enterprise competitions. They then harness their combined engineering and business skills to create innovations that can change people’s lives and improve the lived environment.


Stand won its university’s Dragons’ Den competition. Stand then entered the Engineers in Business Grand Final and won a place in the Champion of Champions Final, where Ben and Emma will be up against other engineers with equally forward-thinking ideas. Will the Stand team walk away with Gold for its imaginative idea to keep people safer?

The Engineers in Business Grand Final will see each pitch team present and answer questions from the judges who are:

  • Ana Avaliani, Head of Enterprise, Royal Academy of Engineering
  • Tim Chapman, Director, Arup – Infrastructure
  •  Andrew Doe, a Sainsbury Management Fellow, serial entrepreneur, a highly experienced e-commerce and digital leader and a non-exec director
  • Kate Beresford, Head of Membership and Operation, Enterprise Educators UK

The judges are looking:

  • Originality and viability of the idea
  • How the idea helps to solve a real problem in society
  •  The benefits to the target audience/customer

In addition to the Gold, Silver and Bronze Awards, there will be two other exciting prizes:

  •   Lord Sainsbury Prize – Lord Sainsbury will award this prize to the team he believes has created a business idea that will have a big impact in society
  •   People’s Prize – the winner of this prize will be determined by the number of public votes based on the finalists’ videos which can be viewed on this website

The Engineers in Business Competition supports and promotes the idea of a combined engineering and business education. In a world that is moving and developing so rapidly, these skills are vital in order to tackle challenging global problems and to make lasting positive changes to the way we live.

Emma and Ben believe that it is important for engineering students to learn business innovation skills and Emma said: “As Engineers it’s very easy to only focus on the technical aspects of business. Being taught business innovation skills enables you to use the technical skills you have acquired and apply them to real life problems. It also makes you look at the world around you and gain knowledge from external sources rather than just course content.

Many of the world’s problems will be solved by engineers, but without business knowledge and an innovative approach it will be difficult to reach solutions. Personally, applying my engineering skills in a business context has better equipped me for graduate life. I can now look at problems with a much more well-rounded viewpoint, and provide input into areas such as marketing, sales, and finance. That’s why I think that engineers learning business innovation skills is vital to the progression of society.”

For further information on Stand, contact Althea Taylor-Salmon at