As part of our series of interviews with the Varsity Pitch category sponsors, we are pleased to introduce you Corinne Fitzgerald, a Catalyst Community Lead at Swiss Re. Swiss Re is this year's sponsor of 'Genuine Innovation' category and we are delighted to reveal their motivations to get involved in the competition.
What are you looking for in an ideal application to the competition?
In the ideal application, there would be passion and enthusiasm around a socially impactful business. I have a personal preference for companies looking to make a difference or catalyse change; thankfully, this usually aligns well with areas Swiss Re are interested in. We are always looking for innovative ways to close the protection gap, to forge links in developing markets and to meet new partners.
Which industries or trends do you expect to see featured in applications this year?
I expect to see health and retail focus quite heavily but that's just based on last year's cohort. Although Fin/Insurtech are not particularly attractive to most entrepreneurs coming out of uni there is a huge trend at the moment towards disruption in these industries, so I am hopeful!
Why did you choose to get involved in the Varsity Pitch Competition?
I like Varsity Pitch because of the opportunity NACUE gives to students that are motivated to start their own businesses. They give huge amounts of support and mentorship to students who may otherwise not have access to it so easily.
I picked NACUE as an organisation to partner with because of the passion of the current and previous CEO and the direction NACUE is forging ahead on. They have created a great network around the Varsity Pitch competition and getting to know other mentors and the links to universities has been invaluable.
Which businesses/ applications really stood out for you from last year's competition?
Last year was great. I like Aeropowder (Varsity Pitch Winner 2016) for their innovative recycling of a waste product. I also really like Unique Insights. As someone who struggled with university myself I loved the idea that they could identify in advance which students should be targeted for extra support to reduce drop-out rates.