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Queen Mary announces Social Venture Fund winner 2023

The winning start-up receives £15,000 to accelerate research, having impressed judges and investors to win the student-led social impact venture capital fund.

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Homed at the School of Business and Management, the QMUL Social Venture Fund (QMSVF) is the first student-led, social impact venture capital fund which focuses on funding 'start-ups for good'. It is an education programme aims to empower the next generation of student investors and entrepreneurs from diverse backgrounds and support long-term social change.

In its third year, the QMSVF has engaged with over 400 startups and organisations with a social mission. This year, the annual pitch competition took place with seven finalists competing for the grand prize of £15,000. On the night, seven finalists pitched to an audience of expert judges and the 2023 QMSVF cohort of student investors.

The winning start-up, Oshen, was awarded £15,000 to accelerate its growth. The start-up's mission is to use fully autonomous wind-driven robotic vessels for capturing ocean data, which includes ocean currents, wave profiles and sea surface temperature.


Following the win, Oshen founder Anahita Laverack said: “We're truly grateful to have been chosen as the winners of this pitch competition. It's a validation of our dedication to solving a real problem, and we're excited to use the prize money for further development.”

Dr Joanne Zhang, Reader in Entrepreneurship at the School of Business and Management and the founding Director of   the Fund, said: "QMSVF empowers student investors and entrepreneurs by simulating a real-life venture fund. Since launching in 2020,  s, we've trained 50+ diverse student investors in collaboration with Creator Fund  and industry experts, and this week we welcome the fifth venture joining our portfolio of social ventures led by students and graduates. Bringing together students, entrepreneurs, experts, and faculty, the programme addresses social challenges from sustainability to mental health, planting seeds for a better future."

Akshat Gupta, Social Venture Fund Student added: “As a participant in the Queen Mary Social Venture Fund (QMSVF), I can confidently say that this program has been one of the most impactful and transformative experiences of my academic career. The training and mentorship provided by the OMSVF were instrumental in helping me to develop the skills and knowledge necessary to evaluate and invest in socially responsible ventures.”

QMSVF is part of Queen Mary’s Student Knowledge Exchange Through Community Hubs (SKETCH) programme, which connects students to local businesses, individuals, and community partners through activities like workshops, training, advisory clinics, consultancy-style projects and investment services. 

The QMSVF is open to Queen Mary undergraduate and postgraduate students interested in venture capital, and aims to support UK-based start-ups led by UK graduates. The fund invests in innovative ventures with a social mission, and students involved gain valuable experience in venture capital. If you are interested in joining the next cohort of QMSVF, please apply here.

 Start-ups interested in applying for next year's programme can complete the application form on the QMSVF website.

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