Entrepreneurial Journey case studies

The case studies below all came from students partaking in the Entrepreneurial Journey in previous years. They are great examples of the innovative ideas that our students work with and the varied relationships that this project fosters across campus.

One of the biggest hurdles to accessing a doctor in Uganda is the time and expense involved in travelling to them. Sasadoc, a team made up of MBA students and two designers from the Royal College of Art, developed an idea to improve access to healthcare in Uganda using mobile phones. Capitalising on Uganda’s growing mobile phone industry, SasaDoc developed a text and voice message service. Users pay a fee to text a number which will connect them to doctors in order to receive medical advice over the phone. A portion of the revenue generated by this service is being used to fund projects that aim to improve access to healthcare for Ugandans who cannot afford to pay.

SasaDoc won the 2014 Business Plan competition and was awarded the prize of £10,000.

Watch a short video about the SasaDoc project:

Matopy is the brainchild of Sam Jewell, Research Associate at the Helen Hamlyn Centre at the Royal College of Art, and was brought to market by a multi-disciplinary team of four MBA students.

Matopy aims to revolutionise the way people interact with the web by applying speech and sound technologies and a more innate way of accessing online content. Matopy turns websites into audio, making them easy to understand and navigate through listening. By using different voices, music and sound effects, the audio experience becomes as rich as the colours, fonts and layouts of the visual web. The product is of great value to individuals with visual impairment.

Matopy was one of eight projects entered into the 2012 Business Plan competition and was awarded the first prize of £10,000

Ananas Anam was created seven years ago in the Philippines by Carmen Hijosa, a design consultant with vast experience in the leather goods industry. Highly aware of the harmful effects of leather production on the environment, Carment went on to explore new materials that could address these concerns. Research into tropical fibres led Carmen to the discovery of the innovative new material Piñatex, composed of fibres extracted from the waste leaves of the pineapple plant. The new leather alternative is applicable to the footwear, accessories and furniture industries.

The final business plan was developed by a team of five MBA students and a Design London fellow. Ananas Anam was awarded the Social Entrepreneurship prize at the 2012 Business Plan Competition.

Breathe Easy was brought to market by a multi-disciplinary team of four MBA students, an Electrical Engineering student from Imperial College and an experienced Product Designer and Entrepreneur from the Royal College of Art. It is an innovative product designed to enhance indoor air quality by cleaning the air of toxins or volatile organic chemicals caused by synthetic materials used in the construction of buildings.

Breathe Easy uses toxin absorbing plants, as researched by NASA, with a novel self-sufficient hydroponic extractor fan system, which provides the plants with the conditions required for healthy growth and extends their toxin absorbing range.

Breathe easy was one of five projects entered into the 2010 Innovation, Entrepreneurship & Design Business Plan Competition and was awarded the first prize of £10,000.

Charis Hewitt (Full-Time MBA 2010), lead entrant, said: “The course really taught us the process that you should go through if you ever want to set up your own business. It’s taken us from the step at which you have a simple idea, shown how you should evaluate that idea, taught us how to do market research, how to evaluate who you should be targeting, how to position your product and how to put together a strategy for how you can sell your product”.

The Solar Blinds product is the result of several years of cutting-edge research by Imperial College Physics Department and Photovoltaics Group at Il Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche in Italy; it has been developed to address a number of significant environmental and energy generation issues faced by commercial property developers.

The Solar Blinds product is a Venetian blind-like system in building facades, which combines energy generation with solar heat and solar glare management, designed to improve energy efficiency and reduce carbon emission for building development. An MBA project team was enlisted to provide a commercial plan, financing needs and personal requirements to take this product to market.

New Road Forward is a social enterprise which aims to foster a closer and more efficient collaboration between probation officers and the Third Sector agencies that offer rehabilitation services to offenders. The project aims to help break the cycle of reoffending which, according to National Audit Office 2010, costs the UK £11bn a year. It will consist of a web portal which will provide an online searchable database of Third Sector agencies supporting rehabilitation of offenders and automatic referral forms to refer offenders to listed agencies quickly and efficiently.

The idea of New Road Forward was proposed by police officers Rob Barrett and Graham Norman who work with prolific and priority offenders in the borough of Lambeth, London and was developed by a team of MBAs whose market research and investigations clarified the objectives and produced a business plan.

Over six months, a team of four MBAs helped to develop IKAWA Ltd, a coffee company founded by Andrew Stordy, an Industrial Engineer from the Royal College of Art. IKAWA offers a new experience for coffee drinkers based on the consumption of green coffee. Generally, the coffee roasting process is generally carried out by roasting companies before coffee is sold to the end user in form of whole/ground beans but within the IKAWA technology, the process of roasting, grinding and brewing can be done through a single process. Imperial MBA students provided advisory services to IKAWA Ltd in the marketing, operational strategies and financial sectors.