Bus that changes lives wins Big Idea Challenge 2017

A social enterprise that aims to transform a classic London bus into a mobile support centre for the capital’s homeless – complete with showers – has been named the winner of one of the UK’s fastest-growing business competitions.

‘Fresh Start: the bus that changes lives’, developed by students Valeria Kormysh, Jesus Diaz and Oriol Iglesias Grau, was last night named the overall winner of the Big Idea Challenge – a major competition which seeks solutions to some of society’s biggest issues.

As winners of the Big Idea Challenge, run by London Metropolitan University, the team will now receive expert support to make their idea a reality, including start-up funds, a digital platform and space in London Met’s business incubator, Accelerator.

Fresh Start will not just offer washing facilities, but also a means of distributing clothing and other supplies and services to homeless and vulnerable people across the capital. The students are now seeking corporate sponsorship to help fund the project.

A team from City and Islington College won the FE competition with their ‘Tracklet’ product – a smart bracelet designed to improve safety for young people when out and about. The bracelet allows users to track their friends and help find each other should their mobile phones run out of battery.

Student Juhi Ashra said: “We wanted to come up with an idea that solved a problem affecting us all. As girls living in a big city, we’ve always found it a bit scary when we lose each other when we’re out, which can happen very easily. We think a lot of people can relate to this problem and have had really positive feedback to the idea.”

The Tracklet team will be given expert support by London Met’s incubator, Accelerator, to get their business up and running, as well as a bespoke website.

The competition is open to sixth form students, London Met students, graduates and staff with three competition categories – Creative, Commercial, and Social Impact. From a killer new business idea, to a mind-blowing creative experience, or a worthwhile social project.  The ideas you can enter are limited only by your imagination!

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