Sojo also creates space for discussion around sustainable fashion “What I needed was a really easy and hassle-free way for me to get my clothes altered and repaired – that’s when Sojo was born.” Sojo’s mission is to give clothes a second chance to keep them out of landfill for longer. Sojo made the 2020
Judging the Mayor’s Entrepreneur competition
Choosing the Mayor’s Entrepreneur
Professor Carolyn Roberts of The Knowledge Transfer Network is a judge for the Mayor’s Entrepreneur. She shares her experiences from five years of the competition…
The Mayor’s Entrepreneur Award asks students to come forward with ideas to cut carbon emissions. Now in its fifth year, I’ve seen lots of ideas, pitches and businesses set up as part of the award.
Arthur Kay pitched and won the first-years award. His idea, Bio-Bean, takes waste coffee grounds and turns them into advanced biofuels and bio-chemicals. This saves money on waste disposal and displaces fossil fuels. It’s a simple yet, utterly brilliant idea. Arthur’s just opened a second factory, joining the first in Cambridgeshire. The new facility produces liquid biofuels, fuel pellets and medicinal products from waste coffee grounds. And Arthur’s still in his early twenties!
Other winners have followed since. Their range of products and services includes paperless receipts, clothing recycling and shelf life indicators for food packaging. Even some that didn’t win have used their experience to go ahead with new inventions. This includes a modular smartwatch which was actually crowdfunded over the internet!
It’s a heady mix of technical innovation and ‘new business systems’ ideas that yields winners. For me, it’s a real privilege to be involved. This year’s competition, sponsored by Citi, attracted record numbers of entries from students of all ages. The panel of judges last week unanimously agreed that the quality had been exceptional. The team at City Hall had clearly worked hard to persuade an even broader range of London universities and colleges to take part.
First, the tech-savvy panel had to skim off the ever-present perpetual motion machines and ‘energy-from-nowhere’ entries. The finalists then pitched their ideas to senior business people at City Hall. This year’s winner was a team of three postgrads from Imperial College. They had developed a novel domestic insulation material using waste feathers from the poultry processing industry. Close behind were teams and individuals with business-ready ideas about electric vehicle battery reuse, haptic navigation, engine design, and air pollution apps. If they can follow in Arthur Kay’s footsteps, they could be on their way to becoming big green businesses of the future.
And before you ask, no chickens were hurt in the making of the winning material. Well, no additional chickens, anyway.
Cosi Care eczema relief – 2019 Creative Industries winner
Lauren Bell, 2019 Creative Industries Award winner, Cosi Care “When I entered the competition, I was a designer. Now I am an entrepreneur.” Lauren Bell, used her experiences with chronic eczema to create Cosi Care – a line of products to relieve the symptoms of eczema and other skin conditions. Designed with children in mind,
Fighting electronic waste – 2018 Tech finalist
Re-inventing the circuit board for the circular economy Tech Finalist at the 2018 awards, Jiva made it through to the finals with their key product Soluboard. Soluboard is designed to be a replacement for the plastic base of circuit boards used in all our electronics. The boards are made with natural fibres and a number