Yesterday we popped down to the Let’s Start Up! festival in our Marylebone campus to check out what our enterprising students have been up to. We spoke to a few final year students from the BA Business Management with Entrepreneurship course about their projects. To our delight we found that Westminster Business School has been working hard to produce the next generation of socially and environmentally engaged entrepreneurs.
We were so impressed with the ingenuity and global responsibility these students showed that we just had to shout it from the rooftops. We’re so proud of our students who have taken the initiative and made Westminster into a hub for social and environmental innovation and sustainable business. See below some of the businesses we’re hoping to see making a difference in the world over the next few years as their founders leave the university and become fully-fledged entrepreneurs.
TruffLife is Nicole’s socially responsible truffle company. She sources Fairtrade cocoa from her native Ecuador and makes luxurious truffles in three flavours: dark chocolate, coffee and champagne. Not content to simply produce a high-quality product, Nicole is determined to educate her customers about the harsh realities of global commodity markets. She tells us that cocoa is the main source of income for over six million people around the world, many of whom earn less than $1.25 a day. By sourcing their chocolate fairly and responsibly, TruffLife ensures that their cocoa producers receive a fair wage for their work. Nicole also invests 100% of her profits back in her farmers’ community to help improve infrastructure and provide medicine.
Since the University of Westminster holds Fairtrade University status we’re absolutely thrilled that our students are working to spread the Fairtrade message and give farmers of crops such as cocoa a fair price for their products.
Karen’s innovative idea for an app called FoodOnTap uses the concept of gamification to encourage consumers to share their leftover food. Gamification applies rewards systems from games such as points to incentivise consumer behaviour change. FoodOnTap provides users with points every time they contribute to the community, and these points can be redeemed as discounts in restaurants or for tickets to exclusive events.
Users can register two things on the apps: leftover food or donation opportunities. So if your eyes were too big for your stomach at dinner you can post your leftovers on the app for others to get from you. Or, if you’re a charity or a person in need you can register that too. That way people who need food, people who have too much food, or people who are happy to transport food between the two, can find each other.
The app also generates impact reports for each user – for instance you’ll get info on the amount of CO2 emissions you saved over a given time period by diverting your leftovers from landfill. You can even set yourself targets to track and improve your performance. This is a really great idea to influence behaviour change in order to tackle both the environmental problem of food waste and the social problem of food poverty.
Sustainable Housing in Egypt
Waleed’s project is a fully designed housing development in his home country of Egypt. Taking advantage of the sunny weather, the houses are all equipped with solar cells covering the roof and as such are fully self-sufficient for their energy needs. Rainwater collection, efficient insulation and other tricks including light wells and sun shading mean that the house runs efficiently and uses resources as efficiently as possible. Waleed’s project is an inspiration to the construction industry and a great model for sustainable development in a promising emerging economy such as Egypt.
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