Student’s book subscription box wins £10,000 prize

Molly Masters with Mayor Mo Marsh and Peter Lane of Sussex Innovation
Molly Masters with Mayor Mo Marsh and Peter Lane of Sussex Innovation

An English Literature student who created a subscription box to empower women through books has won £10,000 to develop her idea.

University of Sussex student Molly Masters won the annual StartUp Sussex competition which saw 10 finalists pitch their business ideas at a Dragon’s Den-style event.

“I’m thrilled, it’s completely overwhelming,” she said. “Winning the prize means that I’ll be ready to launch Books that Matter in September, which feels amazing.”

The competition is delivered by Sussex Innovation for students and recent graduates from the University of Sussex.

Mike Herd, executive director of Sussex Innovation and member of the StartUp Sussex judging panel, said: “Books That Matter is a particularly fitting winner in a year where we’ve tried to do more to support female entrepreneurs. Ultimately, Molly won because she has clearly identified and already successfully engaged her target market. Her pitch on the day really blew the judges away.”

A £10,000 prize was also awarded for the project with the most potential to bring about positive social change. The winners, project management MA student Joanna Kmiec and co-founder William Halle, designed Deadline.Live as a safety net for people living alone with serious illnesses.

It combines an app and a Bluetooth bracelet and alerts friends and family when the owner doesn’t check in regularly.