Student-Led Konglomerate Games Wins Entrepreneurship Award for CF Therapy Game

Joana Carvalho, PhD avatar

by Joana Carvalho, PhD |

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Konglomerate Games, the student-made company that developed a video game to encourage children with cystic fibrosis (CF) to do their breathing exercises, won first prize in the 2020 Santander Universities Entrepreneurship Awards.

These awards are part of the Santander Universities Emerging Entrepreneurs Programme, which has been created to support students launching startup companies to scale and expand their business. Konglomerate Games received £30,000 (about $39,000) as the top-placed company.

“We are so pleased to have won the Santander Universities Entrepreneurship Awards. It was such a fantastic competition and the prize will enable us to focus on developing our game designed for children with cystic fibrosis,” Jamie Bankhead, who leads Konglomerate, said in a press release.

“The Emerging Entrepreneurs programme has enabled us to build our network with such fantastic people which will really help us in the long run,” Bankhead said.

The company, made up of students from Abertay University, in Scotland, was one of eight student business finalists selected from more than 80 applications that were received from across the U.K.

After being shortlisted, the finalists did a final pitch of their business to a panel of experts, who then selected the two top candidates to receive the awards. In addition to seed funding, the two winning businesses will receive mentoring support from business experts, as well as a fully funded intern for up to eight weeks.

“The quality of idea, development and execution of these businesses is excellent and shows how entrepreneurial students can be. That these ideas have been nurtured alongside their studies is inspirational, and shows me that UK start ups are in great shape,” said Theo Paphitis, entrepreneur and one of the panel members. “That so many students are now starting businesses as they study shows the value of earning whilst learning.”

After receiving £10,000 (roughly $13,000) in funding from the Unloc Enterprise Challenge, Konglomerate Games kickstarted the project that would end up giving rise to Archipelayo, its award-winning video game.

Archipelayo is a series of mini games designed to make it easier for children with CF to do the breathing exercises they need to keep their lungs free of mucus and prevent infections. The game is designed to be fully adjustable to the specific types of exercises a patient may require at all stages of treatment. It also has a series of analytical features to track and save patient data, which can then be used by their physicians to monitor their health and treatment adherence.

Earlier this year, Archipelayo began testing among 150 young patients at the Great Ormond Street Hospital and other sites across the U.K. These first rounds of clinical testing are expected to be completed in November.