Student entrepreneurs on a mission to reduce food waste have won an annual business competition for schools.
Posted on: November 23, 2016
Team Velocity from Bede Academy, in Blyth, came up with Pro-Scan, a device that logs the expiry date of purchased food then sends text alerts to warn of produce nearing its use-by date, along with recipe ideas for how to use it.
Their idea and presentation won the top prize and £500 at the annual Emmanuel Schools Foundation (ESF) Business Game, a challenge set over a week in which teams have to establish a business, develop a product or service having done market research then present to a panel of judges on finals day.
Three Year 9 teams from each of the four ESF schools took part – Emmanuel College, Gateshead, Trinity Academy, near Doncaster, Bede Academy and The King’s Academy, Middlesbrough, which hosted the final.
The businesses had to demonstrate commercial awareness by working out finances, develop ideas for a website and other marketing, consider sales and distribution, and show corporate social responsibility by choosing a charity to receive a share of profits.
Velocity Pro-Scan, which would cost £44.99, also provides information about local foodbanks so that any unwanted food does not go to waste.
Managing director Poppy Ainsworth, 13, said: “The idea came from the fact that 40 per cent of food is wasted and our device would help reduce that because people would know which food in their fridge to use first.
“I think the judges thought it was a unique idea and that it solved a real problem, but some of the other teams had some really innovative ideas too so we were really pleased to win.”
The runners-up title went to Illumination, from Trinity Academy, for their Bike-orb cycle light, which reflects a coloured ‘no entry’ zone of light onto the road around a bike to protect riders from passing vehicles.
The other teams from Bede Academy were Team Delta, who came up with PHD, a health device to warn of imminent collapse due to PoTS, a condition suffered by half a million people in the UK, and Apollo Empire, who wanted to retail two jackets for safe cycling and comfortable travel.
Adam Cooper, head of business, IT and economics at The King’s Academy, who organised the final, said: “I have been thoroughly impressed by the creativity, thought and preparation shown by all the businesses.”
John Inglis-Jones, executive officer at Anglican International Development, who was accompanied by fellow judges Debbie Schofield, from ESF, and Ruth Watson, from Middlesbrough Football Club’s Enterprise Academy, added: “I know from many years working in corporate finance that it isn’t easy to come up with a concept, work out the finances and get an idea under way.
“Everybody did extremely well but we felt that Velocity had the clearest concept with the greatest potential.”