Ideas Mean Business: young innovators enjoy success 6 months on

Group picture of the winners of Ideas Mean Business.

The competition supported 24 young people with innovative business ideas.

Some of the UK’s brightest young innovators are realising their potential following participation in Innovate UK’s Ideas Mean Business competition.

The competition provided 24 18-30 year-old entrepreneurs with financial support and expert advice to help get their innovative businesses off the ground. The campaign was part of a drive to encourage more young people to engage in innovation, no matter what their background.

Since receiving the funding and support, the young entrepreneurs have enjoyed a successful 6 months.

Adam Root represents the UK at G7 summit

Essex-based Adam Root, founder of Inheriting Earth, is developing a filter to prevent microplastics entering the water system through washing machines.

In June 2018, Adam was invited to represent the UK on a specialist youth council at the 44th G7 summit in Canada. Adam spoke about the issue of ghost fishing gear, which is fishing equipment that has been lost or abandoned in the ocean. A report by World Animal Protection estimated that each year, 640,000 tonnes of ghost gear enters the world’s oceans.

Adam said:

We are striving to solve a global problem. We need to focus on technology and research to apply smart, considered solutions to ocean plastic and marine debris.

The youth round table allowed a network to be created across countries and divides for one clear goal – a cleaner ocean for everyone.

Adam Root at the G7 summit.
Adam represented the UK on a youth round table at the G7 summit in Canada.

Successful launch for Halalivery

Rawan Abu-Ishira and team are developing Halalivery, a food delivery app exclusively for Halal cuisine. With the programme’s support, the team, which is based at The University of Nottingham’s Ingenuity Lab, successfully launched a beta version of their app in September 2018, with 30 vendors already on board.

Rawan said:

There’s a pretty high level of interest from people in the concept and we’ve been able to acquire loyal customers who are consistently coming back for the quality of service provided.

We have been witnessing rapid growth in the orders placed and app installs not just in Nottingham, which indicates that we could take Halalivery to the next level in the near future.

The programme has supported us in many ways… Considering that we are a self-funded business at the moment, the cash prize has definitely benefited us in accelerating the process of launching into the market and reaching more customers.

The mentorship provided by our innovation champion Sarah Smith has opened up a number of doors either by management advice or through enhancing our social capital.

Tawfiq Abu-Khajil, Rawan Abu Ishira, Amur Anzorov, co-founders of Halalivery.
Tawfiq Abu-Khajil, Rawan Abu Ishira, Amur Anzorov, co-founders of Halalivery.

A new market for Angela’s cushions

Belfast-based Angela McCauley originally hoped to sell handmade cushions created from recycled fabric but found the market too crowded. With the help of her innovation champion, Angela has discovered a new, innovative use for her cushions: helping patients with dementia recall memories.

Over the last 6 months, Angela has worked with individuals suffering from dementia and cognitive decline, using meaningful pieces of fabric to create tactile pieces that prompt patients to remember family and life events. One cushion Angela created for Joan (pictured below) was designed to prompt memories of Joan’s home and interests.

Angela said:

Joan’s next of kin had put a lot of thought into the materials for her MemoryKeeper and enclosed a letter telling me about her.

The floral piece belonged to her and matched the dining room of her family home. Her friend informed me she had an eye for detail and colour. I saw this in action when she helped me pick up just the right shade of green and red to bring out the colours of the main piece.

We picked the joyful picture of Joan on a scooter to show off her fun side. The purple fabric and matching button were from her sewing box and represented her love for sewing and craft. The lace was crocheted by her mother and is a beautiful finishing touch.

Angela McCauley with Joan and her MemoryKeeper.
Angela’s MemoryKeepers help people like Joan to remember family and life events.

Ideal First Car’s George Howell celebrates success

At just 18 years old, Exeter-based George Howell was the youngest winner of a young innovators’ award. George is the founder of Ideal First Car, a service helping younger drivers access better quality cars and cheaper insurance.

Since winning, George has developed a fully-functioning beta of an app featuring listings from over 1000 dealers, which he hopes will be ready to launch in early 2019.

George also participated in a competition hosted by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders. The Future Mobility Challenge looked for cutting-edge automotive innovations, with partners including Jaguar Land Rover, BMW and Toyota. George made the final, which saw him pitching his idea to Toyota.

George said:

The last 6 months have been a rollercoaster to say the least. However, it has assisted me in getting set up for the next 6 months; and the years to follow.

George Howell, founder of Ideal First Car.
George hopes his app will be ready to launch this year.

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