THREE student-led firms have been named as winners of the UK’s leading regional university business planning competition.

Blueprint is held to highlight the entrepreneurship and excellence at the North- East’s five universities, and in its six years of running, 163 businesses have launched from more than 1,000 business plans submitted, creating about 300 jobs.

This year, the three overall winners are Sunderland University- based Campus Games, StuRents from Durham University, and Fscan, also from Durham. Each has won £7,500 to turn their ideas into reality.

Special guest at the awards ceremony, at the Gateshead Hilton, was businessman Doug Richards, formerly part of BBC’s Dragons’ Den.

“Helping our university graduates commercialise their business ideas is absolutely vital if we are to take innovation from academia out into the global economy. Blueprint is a great example of an initiative that is dead set on keeping its talent in the region and helping it thrive,” he said.

Campus Games, led by Helmut Okike, provides students with the latest computer games and technology and organises and manages computer games tournaments, attracting up to 300 participants and 200 spectators at any one time. specialises in student accommodation, and its website, created by Matthew Heap and Michael Rainsford, offers a platform for landlords and letting agents to advertise their properties.

Robert Pal and David Parker’s business Fscan seeks to revolutionise the medical imaging marketplace, with technology to simplify and speed up analytical methods.