Celebration for the winners of Liverpool Business Competition

Image shows (left to right) Tobias Fox (Lyfe), Rick Parry (former Liverpool Football Club CEO and FA Premier League CEO), Elisavet Tsiaili (Camelus Beauty) and Dimitris Georgiou (Elisavet’s business partner and BA Accounting and Finance).

The winner and runner-up of this year’s Liverpool Business Competition have been announced following the live final.

Lyfe – a healthy lifestyle app – was crowned the winner, securing £5000 funding from Santander as well as business mentoring from Rick Parry, former Liverpool Football Club CEO and FA Premier League CEO.

Camelus Beauty – a premium personal care brand – finished as runner-up, winning £3000 funding and business mentoring from Rick Parry.

The two entrepreneurs were put through their paces alongside the two other finalists at a live event, hosted at 30 James Street, where they had to pitch their ideas in front of an audience and the all-important panel of judges.

We caught up with business founders Tobias Fox (MBChB Medicine) from Lyfe and Elisavet Tsiaili (BA Business Management) from Camelus Beauty to find out more about their ideas and how it felt to win.

Q&A with Tobias Fox from Lyfe

1. Could you provide a brief overview of your business?

I’m a 5th year medical student and my business partner, Ed, is a junior doctor and what we, and a lot of other doctors, are coming to realise is that lifestyle medicine is the future of healthcare.

Our app called ‘Lyfe’ is one of several projects that we are currently working on in order to create this shift. Lyfe is essentially a health club whereby users gain access to the most exclusive discounts to hundreds of ‘healthy retailers’ right on their doorstep in Liverpool. Users can receive the best discounts for anything from healthy eateries and coffee shops to gyms and fitness classes.

It’s all personalised as well and the app makes recommendations for where you should try next and you are rewarded with more Lyfe points for being open minded and trying new things. If you make group booking to say a fitness class with your friends, you also collect more Lyfe points, and so by gamifying the idea of ‘looking after your health’ with being social, we hope to turn Lyfe into a whole new kind of social platform. These are things in the pipeline; we still have a lot of work to do!

2. How did you find the competition process and how did it feel to win?

The Liverpool Business Competition this year had an added twist – after submitting our business documents we received an email saying that we then had to produce a one minute video selling our business idea.

This stage was a lot of fun! To begin with, we actually came up with some really creative ideas for how we would get more votes and because of this process it really forced us to think about certain aspects of our branding which we hadn’t considered before.

The original plan was to create an Instagram photo location on campus, but the plan fell through when we realised that it would take two months to create a customised neon light! Who knew!?

In the end, we settled for a simple but effective strategy which was just directly talking to people. We spoke to hundreds of students on campus about Lyfe. The response rate was phenomenal with pretty much everyone that we spoke to not only voting for the video, but also signing up provisionally to the app so that they receive notifications for when it gets released in April!

3. It’s an amazing selection of prizes. Which do you think will be most useful to your business at this stage and why?

Having done an MBA as part of my intercalation last year, an important lesson I have learned from running a startup is that for business knowledge, experience is king! For this reason, it’s so important to surround yourself with mentors – people who have been there and done it, and who have a wealth of knowledge and experience to pass on to you so that you can accelerate your learning curve. We are still yet to meet Rick Parry, but we’re certainly looking forward to it so that he can offer us his expertise!

It’s difficult to say though which prize will be the most useful in the long run, as at this particular point in time, the prize money has been a massive help already. We are planning to launch the app in April at the Liverpool ProHealth event. This is to be one of the biggest health expo events ever held in Liverpool and since Liverpool has some of the worst health statistics in the entire country, it is all geared towards raising the health profile across the city. Having said this, it would be amazing if visitors could have something tangible that they can take away from the event and start using to improve their health and their life. The team just need to stay focused and keep working hard and it should all come together!

Q&A with Elisavet Tsiaili from Camelus Beauty

1. Could you provide a brief overview of your business?

Camelus Beauty is a newly established premium personal care brand offering an outstanding selection of camel milk body care, haircare and skincare products promoting ‘the ancient secret to soft skin’.

Why camel milk skincare? At the age of 16, I realised that camel milk was the only solution to my acne. Since then I promoted the benefits of camel milk on the skin to help others who are suffering from skin problems. So, as soon as I got the chance I developed the camel milk personal care product line.

2. How did you find the competition process and how did it feel to place runner up?

The Liverpool Business Competition has been a great experience. I had the chance to present my entrepreneurial idea to a great audience while the perceived interest boosted my confidence. I felt that dedication and hard work throughout the competition process paid off when Camelus Beauty got awarded as the runner up winner.

3. It’s an amazing selection of prizes. Which do you think will be most useful to your business at this stage and why?

The prize is very useful as my plans going forward are to increase brand awareness by mainly advertising Camelus Beauty. Also, being mentored by Rick Parry is an amazing opportunity as his guidance will definitely help the brand to effectively develop.