A graduate from the University of Nottingham has won £35,000 in an entrepreneurial competition for his business teaching children how to learn different languages.
Jonny Pryn, 23, from Kentish Town, North West London, graduated with an English degree in July 2014 and has since set up One Third Stories with his best friend, Alex Somervell.
In January they applied to enter the university’s Ingenuity16 competition, which allows current and former students to take a business idea through numerous processes and pitch a business plan and financial spreadsheet to judges, culminating in a prize ceremony where the winners share a £100,000 prize fund.
One Third Stories (OTS) made it through to the final five businesses, reduced from 450, and Jonny, chief technical officer of the business, was presented with five awards at the ceremony in University Park.
“The total of our awards is £35,000 – £10,000 of that is in legal credits and £25,000 in cash grants,” he said.
“For us as a start-up (business) it makes the world of difference. To put things into perspective that’s about as much money that’s gone into the business thus far and it’s coming in again.”
OTS competed with Fanbytes, a company which produces engaging social media content for brands and clients – of which include Disney, Nickelodeon and the Brazilian footballer Ronaldinho.
The awards up for grabs at the prize ceremony were: the Ingenuity16 First Place Award, Vice-Chancellor’s Entrepreneurial Potential Award, Shakespeare Martineau Award, The Potter Clarkson Award and the Ingenuity16 Enterprise Award.
The final accolade, the Vice Chancellor’s Award, was jointly handed to OTS and Fanbytes.
Alex and Jonny create stories which start in English and end in a different language based on their Clockwork Methodology framework – a contextual way of learning in which relevant words, sentences and phrases from a different language are gradually interwoven into sentences and the English vocabulary and illustrations help children understand what the foreign words mean.
Their inspiration was Anthony Burgess’ dystopian novel, A Clockwork Orange, which subtly introduces a Russian dialect.
Alex, CEO of the company, from Bedford, is bilingual and able to speak Spanish and English – he studied a degree in politics and international relations with Italian and Portuguese at the University of Exeter.
“Since I graduated, we got on to a business accelerator, got some funding and in those seven-eight months we’ve been working on different prototypes, testing out the market and things like that,” he said.
The pair are launching their Kickstarter campaign on Friday, May 27, to raise money towards producing their first book and launching an app.
The money from the Ingenuity16 competition that the duo received will go towards marketing campaigns.