A platform that helps households dispose of waste cooking oil has taken first prize in the 2018 Imperial Business (IB) Pitch competition.
Coillection, the winning team, is made up of students from the MSc Innovation, Entrepreneurship & Management.
The team’s winning idea is a platform that connects households with oil collection companies, allowing them to properly dispose of waste oil and fat.
Oil collectors are companies that specialise in the removal of waste cooking oil, usually from restaurants, caterers and commercial kitchens. This oil can then be recycled by the chemical and biofuel industry. However, currently no such service exists for domestic kitchens, leading to improper disposal of oil and fat.
When it is poured down the sink together with other fats and greases, used cooking oil gradually congeals and hardens in the pipes, forming blockages. Dealing with these blockages costs water companies in the UK over £90 million annually. Instead, this used cooking oil can be converted to bio-diesel, a carbon neutral fuel and an important renewable energy source.
Coillection aims to revolutionise used cooking oil recycling in the UK by, making this service accessible to individual households. They want to make domestic collections as convenient and efficient as possible for households and oil collectors by connecting them through an online platform.
The team say that one in four households in London are ‘high volume’ oil users, but many households don’t know how to correctly dispose of it. Existing household solutions only deal with low volumes of oil.
Coillection plan to work with water companies and existing oil collection companies as they develop their product. During a four-week pilot phase, they have already collected 36 litres of oil, from just 20 households. Their aim is to be collecting oil from 1000 households in a year’s time.
Their prize was £5,000 in seed funding and fast-track access to the Venture Catalyst Challenge 2019. The Venture Catalyst Challenge is Imperial’s flagship entrepreneurship competition to help early stage student entrepreneurs form a business proposition around their idea and pitch it to potential investors.
London's entrepreneurial ecosystem
Dr Harveen Chugh, Senior Teaching Fellow in the Business School and Business School Lead for the competition said: “It was great to see the range of ideas this year from big data to biotech. The Imperial Business Pitch provides an opportunity for Business School students to pitch in front of leading providers in London’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. It also provides our students with a stepping stone by introducing them to those who could help with their next steps such as accelerators, investors and grant providers.”
At the final, which took place in Imperial’s Enterprise Lab, each team took part in a five-minute pitch, followed by an audience Q&A, to compete for cash prizes. The audience were the judges of the competition, made up of key partners in the London entrepreneurial ecosystem including accelerators, incubators & grant providers.
The IB Pitch programme is a six-week entrepreneurship programme connecting teams led by Business School students to coaches, sector and investment experts to advance their idea. The programme gives teams access to two business coaching sessions, two sessions with an investor, one session with a sector-specific expert and pitch performance training.
Coillection are made up of Yin Noe, Kanika Mittal, Waheedur Nabeel, Kanaki Kassandra and Blake Zeng.
(Fatberg image credit: Arne Hendriks)
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