An Olympic rower and his team have won first prize in an entrepreneurial challenge, with the help of a Royal Free London simulation expert.

Cameron Nichol, a UCL medical student and a member of the GB rowing team and London Deanery surgical trainee Danny Sinitsky teamed up with Dr Pasquale Berlingieri, co-ordinator of screen-based simulation research at the Royal Free and UCL, to take part in the 2012 London Entrepreneur’s Challenge.

The challenge is a business plan competition which aims to build the next generation of entrepreneurs in London. It is open to students and alumni from UCL, the London School of Business, the Royal Veterinary College, the School of Oriental and African Studies, Birkbeck and the School of Pharmacy.

The team, calling themselves Disepra, produced a business plan to implement and market a training course aiming to revolutionise the way laparoscopic appendectomies (a non-invasive way to remove the appendix) are taught by using virtual reality simulation at the Royal Free London’s medical simulation centre.

They had to pitch their idea to a panel of six judges and beat off strong competition to win first prize in the undergraduate category.

Dr Berlingieri said: “We’re one of the few places in the country to provide training on virtual reality simulators and I was delighted to use this knowledge to help the team develop a business plan for this challenge.

“This a fantastic competition which encourages UCL students to become part of the next generation of entrepreneurs in the capital.”