The University of Brighton set to turn bright ideas into reality

Bernardo Sebastião (centre) with school children in Tibet
Bernardo Sebastião (centre) with school children in Tibet

A new baby changing bag, a global pen-friend scheme and turning plastic waste into new consumer products are just some of the ideas vying for cash prizes.

The competition, managed by the University of Brighton’s Enterprise team, within the Careers Service, aims to reward innovation and turn good ideas into reality.

Tom Meades

Tom Meades

The first three winners will collect prizes of £2000, £1000 and £500 from Santander Universities plus packages of support from local entrepreneurs and specialist businesses.

Debbie Wright, studying a MBA in Leadership, is one of five finalists in the Santander University of Brighton Ideas Competition and will pitch her business concept to judges on 10 May.

Debbie said: “The Ideas competition is a great opportunity for students and graduates. I can’t believe I’ve made the final and looking forward to pitching my idea.” She thanked her lecturers in the University’s Brighton Business School, Tove Sorensen-Bentham and Graham Clifford for their support.

Bernardo Sebastião, studying Automotive Engineering BEng(Hons), will pitch his global penfriend scheme, an idea that came to him during a motorcycle trip to the Himalayas. He took letters from friends and handed them to a Tibetan school. Students there responded with 55 letters which Bernardo later gave to a school in his native Portugal.

Debbie Wright SUS-181004-102449001

Debbie Wright SUS-181004-102449001

“After this I thought why not make it global? Let’s create an organisation that connects students from all over the world who are learning English. Thus, the Pen Friend Connection project was created.”

It is now present in four countries (Portugal, India, Mongolia and Greenland) through seven different schools with more than 300 students involved. Harry Kimberley-Bowen, studying Business Management with Marketing BSc(Hons), has come up with a fruit juice innovation. He previously worked on the launch of a new organic baby food brand, Piccolo, and has now created a brand that tackles food waste: “Giving ugly fruit a chance to create sustainable, nutritious and affordable juices.”

And Tom Meades, who recently graduated with a 3D Design and Craft BA(Hons) degree, has made a Bluetooth speaker from recycled plastic. He co-launched Gomi.design which aims to turn rubbish into useful products:

“We will be melting down flexible plastics, then compressing them to create beautiful modular tech products from phone cases to glasses to computer parts. The possibilities of this process is endless.”

Harry Kimberley-Bowen

Harry Kimberley-Bowen

Tom and colleagues want to divert plastic waste from landfill sites and produce “functional and beautiful products for customers”. They want to open a studio in Brighton where consumers and businesses can drop off their flexible plastic waste. Ultimately, they want to set up collection points all over Brighton and to expand the idea to other cities.