Plymouth University wins Flux competition

Flux winners of 2014 from Plymouth University
Flux winners of 2014 from Plymouth University

Businesses urged to help nurture future entrepreneurs

Business leaders could find themselves a wealth of home grown talent by supporting a competition to create the next generation of entrepreneurs.

Cornish businessman Ali Carnegie, director of Stoke Climsland based Total Energy Solutions, was speaking as a team of engineering students from Plymouth University this week secured the national title of Flux 2014 champions.

It is the fourth time the Flux trophy has been brought back to Plymouth University in the event’s seven-year history.

The annual competition invites students to pitch a business plan to a ‘Dragon’s Den’-style panel. The two-day event saw Plymouth triumph over hosts Lancaster University, and Bangor, in the final by pitching short and long-term solutions to a bridge closure in Cumbria.

Mr Carnegie has supported Plymouth University students preparing to do battle in the competition for eight years, providing business tips and advice. He said he was ‘extremely proud’ of the team’s efforts.

The winning team were: Adam Huxtable, Daniel Hanratty, Alex Glover and James O’Carroll, all aged 23, Owen Creese-Smith aged 22, and Thomas Bohl, aged 24. All six have already secured, or been offered, jobs even before finishing their degrees.

Ali Carnegie said: “It is just fantastic. What these guys have done in a month is phenomenal. Flux is an opportunity for businesses to see the superb talent coming up through Plymouth University, right on their doorsteps.

“A lot of SMEs could really benefit from taking part in the event and getting evidence first hand of what skills we have right here in Plymouth. Also, a lot of the students themselves do not know of the valuable opportunities down here in Devon and Cornwall, but by business leaders coming to lend their support to Flux, that gap can be bridged.”

The students said that the advice the received from an experienced businessman, like Mr Carnegie, helped them gain confidence in going for gold.

Owen said: “The advice we were given by Ali enabled us to really focus on getting our key messages across. The final was quite nerve-wracking and it was the biggest audience I’ve ever presented to.”

Daniel added: “Ali gave us some great advice on our general presentation skills which really helped with our confidence.”

Mr Carnegie added: “As a businessman I believe that it is the small things that really make the difference. I encouraged the team to think of things like introducing themselves by their team name, giving a 30 second description of their business and thanking the panel at the end.

“We have a lot of experienced business leaders in Devon and Cornwall, all with their own tips and advice that the students could really benefit from. I would love to see more businesses get involved, not only to support the students but also to give local businesses first pick of some exceptional talent that is right here on our doorstep."

Shirley Walker, head of careers and employability at Plymouth University, said: “FLUX challenges students to develop, plan and present a strategy for a real scenario given to them at the event, calling on skills in marketing, HR, finance and strategy. And it is thanks to the advice and guidance of our mentors, and our outstanding partners in the community like Ali, that we’ve been able to develop such a culture of success, with four FLUX wins in seven years.”


For further information contact Jayne Freer on 07711 264087 or email

Notes To Editor:

  • Total Energy Solutions is a trusted market leader in brokering energy deals for small, medium and large companies across Devon and Cornwall
  • We believe in open and honest communication with our clients about energy and prices and are transparent about the commission earned
  • We have signed up to the TPI Code of Practice
  • We strongly believe that businesses should give something back to the communities in which they work and we give 10% of our profit and time to local charitable organisations