Keyloop has expanded its Automotive Technology Competition for university students following its inaugural event last year.
The Dealer Tech competition welcomes participants from 15 universities this year, which is more than twice as many as in 2020. It is expected that hundreds of students will take part between now and March when the competition ends.
Keyloop created the competition to encourage and nurture new talent into the automotive retail industry, focus on industry innovation amongst the next generation and spread awareness about the career opportunities available within the sector.
Participating students will be asked to develop innovative, tech-focused product ideas that will impact any part of the car purchasing or ownership experience. This could be a solution to help generate new leads, improve communications with consumers, drive efficiencies in the dealership, or impact any part of the automotive retail experience for the consumer or dealer.
Tom Kilroy, CEO at Keyloop, said: “At Keyloop, we value diversity of thought and creative thinking as we know these qualities are essential if we are to drive progress in the industry and create a better car retail experience for consumers. To this end, we are excited to launch this year’s Dealer Tech competition, inviting young talent to consider the career opportunities in automotive retail, develop important professional skills and gain hands-on experience of creating, developing and pitching a new solution. We hope this year’s competition is as tough to judge as last year, which saw some brilliant ideas come to life through great collaborative and innovative thinking”.
Last year, 180 students took part, with six teams reaching the Grand Final, which was ultimately won by Brian Evans, a second-year student from Exeter University. He took home £13,000 for his work on a web-based maintenance and service tracking solution which allowed consumers and automotive workshops to monitor and deliver updates on car repairs and servicing via a two-way communication stream.
This year, registered universities in the UK include Imperial College London, University of Edinburgh, University of Surrey, University of Exeter, with the University of Manitoba in Canada and Munster Technological University in Ireland also taking part.
The competition is split into five key phases: Competition Launch, Product Idea Proposal, Product Idea Development, University Judging Days and finally the National Final Judging Day. Students have from November 2021 to January 2022 to create, develop and finalise their idea, with the University Judging Days taking place in February.
Due to the expansion of the competition, the format and prizes have changed. Each university will have one winning team, who will win a £1,000 prize fund. Keyloop will then select the top six teams from across all the entries to progress to the National Final in March. The overall winning team will win an additional £10,000 for their achievement. In addition, Keyloop will be on the lookout for outstanding students who may qualify for a place on the Keyloop Graduate Scheme.