Ideas to Impact Challenge

Ideas to Impact Challenge 2018

The Gandhi Centre for Inclusive Innovation (GCII) and Global Action on Poverty (GAP) jointly hosted the ‘Ideas to Impact’ (i2i) Challenge on 23rd March 2018, bringing together UK university student teams to present their innovative ideas to solve some of the BIG global challenges we face in society, to positively impact ONE MILLION PEOPLE.

Teams pitched their solutions to global challenges within the following themes: financial Inclusion, agriculture, education & skills, digital, healthcare & sanitation, and climate, water & energy, with the top three winning teams set to receive start-up funds and continuous coaching, mentoring and business support from (GAP) and its partners to develop their idea, along with a fully sponsored trip to GAP’s annual event in India in November 2018.

The audience and judging panel got to listen to some exciting and innovative solutions to solve some serious global challenges, and interact with the shortlisted teams as they pitched their ideas.

The judging panel included Jason Mitchell (Man Group), Francisco Gutierrez (Startupbootcamp), Eduardo Paperini (Collider), Manisha Dahad (Global Action on Poverty), and Kieran Arasaratnam (Uinspire).

Dr Sankalp Chaturvedi (Director, GCII) kicked off the event by introducing our panel of judges and we all got to hear some inspiring messages as we listened to them each speak for a few minutes.

Manisha Dahad of Global Action on Poverty and Sunil Savara (Head Held High Foundation) introduced their work and the main aim of the competition, with a description of the benefits of joining their network. Sunil touched on the goals of the foundation, including empowerment and impact for the longer term.

Next up were the team pitches. Teams were given a twenty minute time slot each, with seven minutes dedicated to the pitch, followed by audience/panel Q&A.

‘Matoha’ began with their team describing their idea to combat plastic pollution. They have designed and created a low-cost and small-scale plastics identification instrument, which will revolutionise and simplify the way we recycle and process plastics, even at community-scale, with a view to expanding to developing countries, where people could earn their living through sorting plastic waste, while clearing up the environment at the same time.

Next up was ‘MOSSpod’, who are working on an innovative, sustainably-made workspace which filters air pollution in urban areas. They passed a model around the judging panel, giving an idea of the design and aesthetics of the idea – office pods made from bamboo with a layer of moss coating the outside acting as a filter for pollution. The team hope to have over 300 MOSSpods manufactured and on lease in 5 years. In terms of climate impact, this will add up to a reduction of 1,764,833 kg of CO2-equivalent, and have an additional impact of educating the urban workforce on being more environmentally aware. There will also be a marked social impact via the purchasing of responsibly sourced bamboo from Africa, supporting local businesses.

‘Black Box Bio’ detailed their idea – a modular genetic construct that would disable DNA sequencing, preventing third parties from accessing the genetically encoded information. This would enable new technologies to enter the market by providing physical security of their genetically encoded IP, incentivising innovation in large biotechnology companies. It would also encourage entrepreneurship by providing an alternative IP solution to start-ups and would also allow for the implementation of future cutting edge genetic technologies without fear of misuse.

We then heard from ‘The Saviours’, who want to address the long-standing predicament of low financial literacy in Afghanistan. By partnering with Banks, Microfinance Institutions, and other financial services providers, they aim to dislodge the obstacle of low financial literacy, which will subsequently pave way for deeper and smoother penetration of financial services in Afghanistan. This would allow them to collect valuable information from the recipients to better assess their needs and inform financial institutions to redesign their existing offerings and to develop new ones that would address unmet needs of this underprivileged and under-served segment of the Afghan society.

Next, we were joined by the ‘Eyesee’ team. They described how they aim to provide better, more affordable eye care to those in developing countries. Although various charities are trying to improve access to glasses (often by distributing old glasses from people in Europe) the problem is still very large; 90% of people with uncorrected vision live in the developing world. They are designing a complete ‘design and manufacture’ and virtual reality eye testing package within mobile clinics to revolutionise eye care globally.

Next, the ‘Athenian Initiative’ team walked us through their core idea – a blockchain platform to enable a new standard for tokenised investment vehicles with smart contracts. They aim to use this platform to enable crowd/public sourced funding and for investors to access financially attractive opportunities.

Finally, we heard from the ‘Mitt Prostheses’ team, who in tackling the problem of artificial limbs being rigid, uncomfortable to wear, time consuming to make and expensive, want to produce and provide comfortable self-adjustable prostheses direct to the patient, which cost significantly less and they can then fit themselves. They have begun the process of filing a patent, with a pilot test lined up for later this year. They plan to sell direct, enabling them to build the revenue required to expand to a much larger audience in rural areas and countries such as Angola and Cambodia, where there is a much higher instance of people living with limb loss.

The judging panel convened during the networking session and remarked upon how impressive the calibre of students and ideas were. All teams pitched well, with confidence, and had produced dynamic and informative presentations. They decided on their top three teams, as follows:

First prize: ‘Mitt Prostheses’

Second prize: ‘Matoha’

Third prize: ‘Eyesee’

The event closed with some reflective moments from Dean Francisco Veloso. This was a really inspiring and exciting competition and we all look forward to watching these ideas and products develop over the next year!

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