Big Idea Challenge 2018

A celebration of London's entrepreneurs at the Big Idea Challenge awards 2018

With over 10,000 votes cast world-wide, London Met’s Big Idea Challenge really was its biggest yet. Find out who the 2018 winners are.
Date: 1 May 2018

Budding entrepreneurs from across London gathered in the Milton Court Theatre, Barbican, for London Metropolitan University’s annual Big Idea Challenge awards on Thursday 26 April.

Now in its 13th year, the Big Idea Challenge, which is run by Accelerator, is an entrepreneurial competition open to students, staff and alumni and gives entrees the chance to pitch and develop their idea and potentially launch into a real-life business. Winners were decided by members of the public with more than 10,000 votes cast world-wide.

In 2016, a second competition was introduced to accommodate schools and colleges across London. It is aimed at college students and the two competitions run parallel to each other.

Antonio Hines, a Music Technology (Sound for Media) BSc student at London Met, was named as the overall winner of the competition as well as the winner of the Commercial category for his idea, ‘UTeachMi’, an online social platform which allows users to teach and learn different computer software programs.

“I was shocked to win the Big Idea Challenge,” said Antonio.

“I’ve loved every step of the Big Idea Challenge and winning has made me more determined to make my business a success.

“Now that the Big Idea Challenge is finished, all I can think about is; ‘When can we get started?’”

Antonio has won part of the prize pool of £30,000 towards his idea and will receive mentoring and support from Accelerator, London Met’s business incubator as well as use of Accelerator’s office space in Hoxton, the heart of London’s tech entrepreneurial district.

The Big Idea Challenge is split into several different categories; Social Impact, Creative, Commercial and Staff. Conor Gallagher, an Examination in Professional Practice in Architecture (RIBA3) graduate, was named as the winner of the Social Impact category with his idea of ‘Allot-Me’, an app which allows users to rent allotment space in London for up to six months.

Conor said: “I’ve lived in London for three years and have noticed there is a common issue that people don’t have the space to grow their own vegetables.

“I’m ecstatic to be named as the winner of the Social Impact category in the Big Idea Challenge. I’ve absolutely loved taking part this year and feel really inspired and enthused to take my idea further.

“My next step with my idea is to get the website up and running, with the help of Accelerator, and see where I can take my idea.”

Fabamallow, a vegan chocolate covered marshmallow, was named as the Creative category winner for their inventive design to approaching nutritional and sustainability barriers.

The idea was pitched by Dimple Divecha, Sonia La Fauci, Jan Brady and Jasmine Lenoble, all Food Science MSc students at London Met. “It’s great to have won the Big Idea Challenge and it gives us confidence as we’re also shortlisted for another award where we pitch our business idea to experts in the food industry,” said Dimple Divecha.

“We’re looking at manufacturing and online sales options, packaging design and the opportunity to start sales this summer.

“The support we’ve had from being part of this competition has really built our belief in our idea but we’d really want to thank our tutor, Hamid Ghoddusi, for his work, not just as a food sciences tutor but in building our belief in ourselves to take this idea this far.”

Staff award

Dr Steve Hills, senior lecturer in Events Management BA, was named as the winner of the Staff category for his idea, ‘Brainbox’, which teaches uses to use sport to combat mental health problems. He said: “My next step is to take my idea further and see how I can shape it even more and get it sharpened up. I am grateful to the Accelerator for giving me this chance and teaching me how to pitch my idea in 60 seconds, which has taught me how to condense my idea.

A full list of the 2018 Big Idea Challenge winners
UTeachMi - Overall winner and Commercial category winner
Fabamallow – Creative category winner
Allot-Me – Social Impact winner
Brainbox – Staff winner
HealthBusters – People’s Choice

Schools and colleges winners
Be Sharp, Be Smart – Overall winner
Smart Sole – Runner Up
Taboo Talk – Runner Up
Pro Techt – People’s Choice

Special thanks to the following staff for their time and work in the 2018 Big Idea Challenge
Toby Kress
Simon Boot
Natasha Triay
Jonathan Everett
Emily Link
Amaka Achike
Andre Smith