De Montfort University (UK) Meet The Winners Of The 2022 Fox’s Lair Competition

Spotting a sign on a village noticeboard led three De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) students to come up with an award-winning app idea.

Mia Gray, Scott Haines and Ellie Harris developed VenHire – an online community to help people find venues and building owners to advertise available space – which saw them crowned the 2022 winners of DMU’s Fox’s Lair competition.

The online system categories venues into location, ideal purpose and capacity which will then allow customers looking for venues to book the space. It also allows commercial premises such as cafes to list their disused spaces on days that they are closed, and pubs to list vacant function rooms.

Mia added: “As we grow, we can list parking spaces and homeowners can rent their large gardens. Every venue and space will be able to be reviewed by the customers.”

The team researched competitors and spoke to app developers and website designers to get the pitch together, which was made to a team of judges.

“Presenting to the judges was a great experience, although a nerve-racking one,” said Ellie. “However, after lots of practice and genuine confidence in ourselves and our ideas, our nerves soon subsided as our presentation began. We received great feedback and really appreciated the comments and constructive criticism we were given by the Foxes.”

They were announced as the winners at this year’s Fox’s Lair awards, held in Leicester Castle Business School.

“It was great to know that it was not just us that believed in VenHire,” said Mia. “Of course, the bonus of a goodie bag and a £1000 cheque was also a huge achievement. We are very grateful, and the win provided us with further confidence to push VenHire in the coming future.”

Senior enterprise Dr Simon Hill, who runs the Fox’s Lair said: “It’s been a fantastic year, with a range of strong entries. Choosing the winners and finalists, has been harder than ever.”