Launched in: 2016
Application Timing: Jan. - March
In partnership with global nonprofit Enactus, Ford Fund invites student teams to develop ideas for innovative projects that address an unmet social need or problem in the local community – ranging from safety to workforce development to access to mobility, and more. Each year, up to three Enactus student teams are selected to receive a £5,000 grant to implement their project. Through this program, students use entrepreneurial action to make people’s lives better and help their community become a more sustainable place to work and live.
2019 Ford College Community Challenge Winning Projects
University of Glasgow: Glasgow
The goal of Project SE|ME is to give rough sleepers opportunities that lead them on a path of out of homelessness and economic stability that includes wrap around support to empower them on their journey. The project uses an entrepreneurial approach to help improve the social mobility of rough sleepers, by integrating technology as a solution. Currently, cash donations can be used to fuel unhealthy addictions and this new approach will help to promote alternative choices. The project involves several elements such as increasing public donations to registered individuals using a mobile application and web platform. The aim is that this can be scanned to allow online donations that go directly onto a beneficiary ‘ME’ card, which can then be redeemed in an autonomous manner with dignity in a pop-up shop at a city centre charity base and later in retail partners that accept Visa and MasterCard payments. Working in partnership with the local council and third sector organizations, SE|ME will run a city-wide campaign to tackle the public perception of homelessness. SE|ME beneficiaries will be supported to attend workshop and work-based placements, with extra credit awarded onto their ‘ME’ card. Members will also receive free gym memberships thus improving physical and mental wellbeing and will also providing access to hygiene facilities such as showers.
University of Exeter: Exeter
The goal of this project is to reduce environmental by diverting coffee grounds from landfills a grow mushrooms for local restaurants, shops and at farmer’s markets. Through the project, Exeter Gourmet Mushrooms can also provide employment opportunities for disadvantaged persons. The aim is to follow a circular business model and sell any excess biomass to local composting businesses. By supplying local restaurants and shops, food miles are reduced and the project supplies local businesses with a more sustainable source of produce. Once financially sustainably is established our business aims to provide a way of easing disadvantaged persons into the workplace by providing employment experience. This will be a hands on experience where the volunteers are able to grow mushrooms out of their own grow cup. The grow cup is an idea our team created where mushroom substrate is incubated in a waste or recyclable coffee cup; mushrooms are grown out of this coffee cup and beneficiaries write their name (i.e. ‘Grown by Andy’) on the side of the cup. This unique product can then be sold in partner shops. The aim is also to have a farmer’s market stall set up in collaboration the project partner, St Sidwells Community Centre, where beneficiaries will have an opportunity to sell their own produce and take ownership of their income as well as develop key entrepreneurship skills.
Loughborough University, Loughborough
PrepMate began with a vision to help arm amputees in both the UK and third world countries gain access to affordable prosthetics. Through initial research, it was quickly realized that many individuals did not want a prosthetic, so the team turned their attention to creating a household product to assist with cooking. They came up with an innovative design for a kitchen utility tool. The aim of this is to help individuals with upper limb differences such as arm amputees, stroke victims and those with cerebral palsy achieve greater independence in the kitchen. The design is a chopping board with multiple different functions, helping users; peel, grate, chop and spread with only one hand. The aim is to provide the tool to help aid individuals with simple tasks in the kitchen, that are taken for granted. The hope is to help save beneficiaries time and money. Alongside the product, a support service will be implemented. This will involve the creation of regular cooking workshops that show how to use the PrepMate after the finalized design is manufactured. The team have had access to the STEM lab at Loughborough that has been aiding the creation of the prototype through engagement of different engineering departments at the University. The Ford Fund grant will help with the next stages which include completion of Design for Manufacture (DfM) study, patent application, prototype tooling for manufacture and marketing/promoting project.