A young business owner has hailed the value of businesses and universities working together after launching his first product following collaboration with a University of Manchester Masters student.
21-year-old Gary Cheetham founded SystemPioneer, which creates innovative content management systems and websites for a range of businesses, in 2016.
With this wealth of experience behind them, Gary and his team of software developers have now created a website of their own, MotorbikeValuations.com, which aims to help its users to accurately predict the price of second-hand motorcycles they may be looking to sell or buy.
Gary needed specialist support to help bring the website to market, as it would rely on machine learning – a field of artificial intelligence that uses data and statistical techniques to ‘learn’ and improve performance around a task – to ensure the site’s price predictions were accurate. Therefore, he sought support from GC Business Growth Hub, part of The Growth Company.
Karen Dudley, an innovation advisor at the Hub, introduced Gary to the Alliance Manchester Business School at the University of Manchester. This led to a six-month collaboration with University student Anna Komodromou to create the algorithm that would allow the website to accurately predict the prices of motorcycles. Anna, who was able to use the research as part of her dissertation, was working towards an MSc in Business Analytics and was put forward by her tutors because of her expertise in the area.
Gary said: “Being able to access the expertise and knowledge of someone of Anna’s calibre goes to show that Manchester is a great place to do business – and somewhere where a world-class university can work with a small local business on a real-world business problem, and together create the technology that powers MotorbikeValuations.
“Now we have finally perfected our algorithm thanks to the help of the university, the sky’s the limit. No other company in this industry has a system like this.”
Anna said: “It was good to be given a chance to apply what I have learned at Manchester Business School as part of my dissertation and create a useful algorithm for a real company. It was very challenging for me to work and find an algorithm for accurately forecasting the price of used vehicles. The help of Gary and, of course, the guidance of my lecturers was invaluable in completing this innovative project.”
Karen Dudley of GC Business Growth Hub, added: “This is the start of an ongoing relationship between Gary and the University. As an organisation that continually innovates, keeping ahead of competitors by harnessing academic input into future projects will be key to business growth and maintaining a competitive advantage.”