An online business set up by a 27-year-old from Shropshire has been shortlisted for a major national prize.
Jon Cheek set up UniTasterDays.com to allow teachers at schools, colleges and academies to book places on university taster days and workshops.
The site was originally set up across the East and West Midlands, but is now set to be rolled out nationally.
Now it has been shortlisted in the Shell Livewire Grand Idea Awards, which recognise innovative start-up businesses from across the UK, and could land the fledgling business a £10,000 grant.
Mr Cheek said: “To be shortlisted for a national new start-up award is a fantastic achievement for both me and UniTasterDays.com
"The site is an excellent resource for schools, and the initial response from universities has been excellent, with some of the leading universities joining up.
“The new fee structure means the decision-making process for a student is much more than ‘What course and where?’ It’s now more likely to be ‘How much, and how do I pay for it?’ As a result, more university events are inevitable, and UniTasterDays.com will provide a unique one-stop search, book, and request facility for school teachers in order to find them.”
Mr Cheek, who lives in Bridgnorth and works for the University of Birmingham, gave the site a soft launch in the Midlands area in May. The site will be launched nationally this week.
Free to use for schools, the site is also being offered to universities without charge until next year, in an effort to build up a user base.
The site fills a gap which was created by the closure of Aim Higher, which linked schools and universities in the past, and follows the increase in tuition fees.
It is anticipated that combined university budgets for schools events will increase by approximately 25 per cent to a total of almost £80 million following the increase as universities seek to do more to entice students into higher education.