University of Warwick student Jan Graf von der Pahlen is hoping to fly the flag for the Midlands in the new HSBC Unipreneur Awards.

The government-backed Awards, sponsored by HSBC Bank and presented in association with the National Council for Graduate Entrepreneurship (NCGE), follows a recent study that suggests there could be as many as 80,000 students running a campus-born business - with some already on the way to their first million.

Jan, who thought of the idea for Digital References, is one of several young entrepreneurs hoping to be named Britain's ultimate "Unipreneur".

Digital References is an online based business with the prime intention of enabling university graduates to upload their references online.

By scanning actual reference documents that are verified by the appropriate company, potential employers can review the experience of graduates online with ease.

The overall winner of the awards will be decided at a gala evening at BAFTA on April 23, when five finalists will be quizzed live on stage by a panel of experts about their business and why they deserve the first prize of £20,000.

Local businesses will also be able to promote paid and unpaid work experience opportunities as a way of improving a students' CV while advertising their own company online.

Jan has outperformed hundreds of young hopefuls to be short-listed for the HSBC Unipreneur Awards. The entries will be considered by a panel of local business experts who will select 10 top new businesses to go through to the national judging session.

HSBC Head of Business Banking, Huw Morgan, said; "There is a new breed of young businessmen and women on the block who don't plan to use a good education making money for someone else - we call them the Unipreneurs and we are keen to support them.

"Their academic study has given them an awareness of structure and an appreciation of discipline.

"They have an understanding of business plans, finance and strategic thinking. They are analytical, creative, focused and so bring credibility to their business ventures that make them enthusiastic and competitive.

"We are delighted to sponsor these awards, which will recognise their growing contribution both to the community and the economy."