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Student’s friendship app reaches international final


An entrepreneur from the University of Wolverhampton who has designed an app to help students make new friends has won a business competition.

Nathaniel Howell took part in a pitching competition in Finland while on a placement year with Erasmus+.

The 30-year-old beat off tough competition from over 100 students from six universities to win the regional Cambridge Venture Camp competition in Helsinki.


The BA (Hons) International Business and Management student will now take part in a national contest in Kotka in Finland with a top prize of €5,000 during the first week of August.

Nathaniel’s app, Gradumate, gives students access to discount codes and enables them to connect with other students nearby via a swipe option.

He said: “The competition was for concepts that are at the prototype stage and we attended workshops in Helsinki and Cambridge in the UK before pitching our ideas.

“I had the idea to help students on international exchanges to meet people with similar interests and make friends while they are abroad. There were lots of good ideas so it was great to win.”

Nathaniel, from Birmingham, completed a one-year placement in Finland, and as well as his degree from Wolverhampton, he will also gain one in European Business Administration from Metropolia Business School.

He said: “The best thing I got out of going abroad to study was the experience and building a social network with other students and like-minded people. I have got friends all over the world now, in places such as Italy, Spain and Japan.”

Nathaniel hopes to go into Sports Management and is considering postgraduate study.

Erasmus+ is the European Union’s (EU) programme for education, training, youth and sport, with the EU committing £12 billion to the programme between 2014 and 2020. In the UK, the programme is managed by the Erasmus+ UK National Agency, a partnership between the British Council and Ecorys UK.

For more information about international placements through the University, visit:

Further information

For more information please contact the Media Relations Office on 01902 32 2736 or 01902 518647.

Date Issued: Monday, 22 July 2019

About Erasmus+
Erasmus+ is the European Union programme for education, training, youth and sport for 2014-2020. It significantly increases EU funding (+40%) with an overall budget of €14.7 billion (£12 billion) for the development of knowledge and skills and aims to increase the quality and relevance of qualifications and skills. Two-thirds of its funding will provide grants for more than 4 million people to study, train, gain work experience or volunteer abroad in 2014-2020 (compared with 2.7 million in 2007-2013). The period abroad can range from a few days up to a year. In the UK, it is expected that nearly 250,000 people will undertake activities abroad with the programme. Erasmus+ aims to modernise education, training and youth work across Europe. It is open to education, training, youth and sport organisations across all sectors of Lifelong Learning, including schools education, further and higher education, adult education and the youth sector. Erasmus+ provides funding for organisations to offer opportunities to students, teachers, apprentices, volunteers, youth leaders and people working in grassroots’ sport. It will also provide funding for partnerships between organisations such as educational institutions, youth organisations, enterprises, local and regional authorities and NGOs, as well as support for reforms in Member States to modernise education and training and to promote innovation, entrepreneurship and employability.

The programme is managed in the UK by the Erasmus+ UK National Agency, which is a partnership between the British Council and Ecorys UK.

For more information please contact the Corporate Communications Team.

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