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Plymouth student scoops Soup prize to launch new digital business only minutes before graduating

Graduating Plymouth student Josh Playle has won a package of grant funding and business support to develop his new digital business after winning the fifth Soup event organised by GAIN at Plymouth University.

After successfully pitching at the live crowdfunding platform held on September 21 in the landmark location of Plymouth University’s Graduation Marquee on Plymouth Hoe, Josh’s business Conclient Ltd was voted the favourite by those attending, who heard four pitches from different digital-based businesses over breakfast.

Conclient offers a website, officially launched yesterday, which is designed to bring together engineering consultants and their clients, and 22-year-old Josh aims to develop the site further before moving on to develop an accompanying app.

Josh, who had to rush from the Soup event to attend his own Plymouth University graduation ceremony taking place just minutes later, said: 

“It didn’t sink in that I’d won until after my graduation, as I was so preoccupied with not wanting to miss the ceremony, but I’m really happy.

“It means such a lot to win as our team has had a lot of setbacks and bad news over the last few months and morale wasn’t high, so this is a great uplift. I found the whole Soup experience really helpful; I was a little nervous at first but my pitch went well and I learnt a lot from the experience.
“The money we’ve won will be a great help for us and go entirely to paying for advertising and marketing costs to promote the new website; our overheads are at an absolute minimum so this will really help. The access to business support and networks will really help us get going as well and be an ongoing morale booster for the team, so I’m very grateful.”

Conclient beat competition from other new or growing digital businesses pitching at yesterday’s Soup event, which included Krowdthink, Care Control Systems and E3 Enterprises.

Josh founded Conclient earlier this year after completing his degree in mechanical engineering, and the company started in June based in the Formation Zone at Plymouth University. There is now a team of five working full time and part-time on the business which Josh continues to oversee as Managing Director, though he is about to start an engineering consultancy job in Plymouth at the same time.

“It will be pretty busy for me but I plan to do both, and keep working on the business at the same time along with our team,” Josh added.

The simple concept of Soup, first pioneered in the USA, enables four entrepreneurs to spend four minutes trying to impress an audience with their enthusiasm in a bid to win funding to help them take their ideas to the next level. The audience listen to pitches over a bowl of soup - though yesterday the breakfast event served up bacon sandwiches instead - and vote for their favourite at the end.

Plymouth held its first Soup event last year after GAIN at Plymouth University decided to pioneer the practice in the South West, and the fifth event in the series was sponsored by Francis Clark LLP and City College Plymouth.

After being voted the favourite by those attending, Josh won a grant of £750 which included funds generated from the event ticket sales, as well as a package of business support from GAIN, Devon Chamber of Commerce, City College Plymouth, and the Formation Zone and Futures Entrepreneurship Centre at Plymouth University.

Corporate Projects Manager for Plymouth University, Richard Adams, said: 

"Josh is at an early stage of his business, gathering funding to launch his website and a marketing campaign to promote it, and the audience felt strongly that he would benefit most from the cash prize and business support package so he stood out as the deserving winner of our fifth Soup event, and we are delighted for him.
“Soup has proved to be an enormously popular business crowdfunding event for the South West so far, mimicking the global success the events have enjoyed worldwide, and it’s fantastic to see so many entrepreneurs in the region being able to access the tangible business support they need, as well as enjoying the positive experience of directly pitching their ideas to local business experts.”

Previous Soup winners have included The Family Foraging Kitchen and the Peninsula Honey Company.

Find out more about future Soup events in Plymouth by visiting

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