Engineering graduate wins University of Leeds enterprise award

The annual Sir Peter Thompson Enterprise Award for student and graduate entrepreneurs at the University of Leeds has two winners this year for only the second time in its history.

The prizes were awarded to Tom Griffiths of NBT Music Ltd, a ‘one stop shop’ for aspiring musicians, and to Natasha Whiddon of MAP happy Ltd, which produces maps and guides for new students, at the Sir Peter Thompson Enterprise Award Dinner at the University of Leeds on Thursday 31 May 2012.

“The winners are chosen for their demonstration of entrepreneurial promise and their potential impact on the UK's economic, social or cultural prosperity,” says Leeds alumnus and serial entrepreneur, Sir Peter Thompson.

NBT Music Ltd is the brainchild of School of Electronic and Electrical Engineering graduate Tom Griffiths. A musician since childhood, Tom organised his first music event at the age of 16 which gave him an insight into the logistical and technical side of the industry. Combining his Faculty of Engineering degree in Music, Multimedia and Electronics with managing his friends’ band, Tom spotted a gap in the market for a company which would not only act as a record label to record and produce music but also manage, promote and advise the artists.

“From an informal start in 2010 helping out friends in Leeds, I learnt about the nuts and bolts of running a business after approaching the Spark team at the University’s Careers Service in 2011,” says Tom. “They made sure I had the structure right and I wouldn’t be here now without their advice and guidance.” Tom and his four staff are now based in business incubation space in Leeds which provides ideal facilities for the company to flourish.

His £5,000 award will be used to promote one of MBT’s up and coming artists, singer songwriter Phoebe Katis, whose MBT-created YouTube channel received 12,000 views in two weeks. “We’ve already generated interest using social media networks and will continue to work hard to promote Phoebe and all our artists,” says Tom. “The past two years have been a massive learning curve but I know that NBT Music can make a difference and bring back the passion and fun to the music industry.”

Sir Peter Thompson says: “With so many enterprising businesses coming from the University of Leeds, it was harder than ever to choose winners, hence the double award. Tom has already made great progress in his business venture and the potential and drive is there to take it much further. Natasha’s business could be rolled out across the country and she has the determination to make it happen. They are worthy winners.”

Notes to editors:
Spark is a business start-up service, based at the University of Leeds Careers Centre, which advises and assists students and graduates who are interested in self-employment or setting up a business. Spark is funded through the Higher Education Innovation Fund. More information can be found at here