Surrey Engineering Students are Finalists in National Business Innovation Competition

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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).

Rufus Uttley, Matthew Fennell and Konstantinos Meli, all Electronic Engineering Graduates, from the University of Surrey invented Breadcrumb, a phone app that can help students (and others) to keep track of purchased food and use-by dates. In this way it is possible to avoid spoilage and waste and it can provide tasty recipe suggestions based on foods already in the fridge and store cupboard. 

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.


The Breadcrumb team won its university heat of the Engineers in Business Competition receiving £1,750 to assist with the development of its innovation. The team then entered the Engineers in Business Grand Final and won a place in the Champion of Champions Final, where they will be up against other engineers with equally forward-thinking ideas. Will Breadcrumb bag Gold for their tasty idea?

Commenting on what inspired the idea, team leader Rufus Uttley said: “Living in a student household, with an inadequately sized kitchen, we often found mouldy food weeks after purchase buried at the bottom of the fridge. On a student budget, the costs quickly add up. I wanted a way to easily track when my food goes off. By tracking food and suggesting recipes, we believe that food wastage can be significantly reduced. Food wastage makes up a significant level of UK greenhouse gas emissions and with a large portion being entirely avoidable, this innovation could be a way to significantly cut this. Also, families in the UK spend up to £700 annually on food that will be thrown away, we hope to reduce that close to zero!”

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 for:

  • 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.

The Breadcrumb team believes that it is important that engineering students learn business innovation skills. Rufus said:

“Learning business innovation skills allows engineers to evaluate the potential of idea and whether it is worth pursuing and potentially producing. The skills and knowledge gained from this competition would help launch a successful start-up or take a lead on a project/company should the opportunity arise. Having engineers in business positions aids communications between management and the engineers developing, hence streamlining a business.

“Competing in my university business ideas competition gave me a unique opportunity to utilise the business concepts we are taught. Through the process of creating a detailed business report and pitching to a panel of industry experts, it was evident that communication was the most important skill to develop as an engineer. The ability to effectively coordinate a team and convey complex ideas is vital for a graduate engineer.”

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