University of Bristol: Innovative student start-up wins £10,000 to develop food waste slashing tech

UK schools, colleges and universities throw away 150m tonnes of food each year, at a cost of around £250m.

But the University of Bristol students behind KnoWaste believe their digital food management system will cut that waste by 50%, reducing institutions’ costs by 6%.

Now the students – Sophie Elliott, Edward Stratton, Charlie Royle and Kesta Kemp – have won part of a £25,000 funding pot at the University of Bristol’s Runway Entrepreneurship Competition to turn their idea into a business.

The technology sees diners log into an app and pick their food for the week in advance. Knowing the demand for each meal means caterers are not forced to over produce – a simple change that could have huge ramifications for the industry.

The app also shows diners the environmental impact of each meal, allowing them to make informed choices about what they eat.

Early tests at primary schools in Bath and Truro have had encouraging results.

Kesta Kemp, an Anthropology with Innovation student, said: “Winning this award takes KnoWaste to the next level. We can now further develop our technology for the roll out in September.

“Although still in its early stages, our waste management technology has the potential to massively reduce food waste, all while saving institutes time and money.”

KnoWaste was one of 14 student projects exhibited at the University’s Innovation Student Showcase.

The ideas are the final year projects of students studying at the University’s Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship. Students study a traditional subject with an extra emphasis on using what they learn to find creative solutions to social issues or to develop commercial opportunities.

Other big prize winners on the day were:

H2 Nutrition

The best friends behind H2 Nutrition, Hywel Rose and Hugh Hamilton-Green, won £8,000 to develop their high protein and fibre and low sugar plant-based cereal.

The sport-mad pair became fed up with existing products that are low in nutritional value and high in sugar. They hope the product will help people lead healthier lifestyles.

C.U.P

Students Kira Goode and Monica Wai won £7,000 to develop their menstrual cup cleaning and sterilising case.

They hope the easy-to-use innovation will encourage more women to dispense with single-use period products, which have traditionally been more convenient but have a big environmental impact.

‘These ideas could all make a real impact in the world’

Presenting the awards was Simon Pillar, a University of Bristol alumnus and co-founder of Australasian investment firm Pacific Equity Partners.

He said: “It was terrific judging such great ideas, all of which have potential to make a real and lasting impact on the world.

“Picking the prize winners was not easy but KnoWaste’s clear vision for a product that can create change, starting at a very local level with the potential to scale up across customer segments and geographies, really impressed us.

“I would like to thank all of the students for their great ideas and the work that has gone into these pitches, and on behalf of all of the Runway panel we are looking forward to seeing how they develop in the future.”

Despite only launching in 2016, several graduates from the Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship have taken their ideas forward as successful start-ups, including one that slashes the time needed to create video games and another developing the UK’s first female urinal.

The team behind the urinal – Amber Probyn and Hazel McShane – launched this year’s Showcase.

The Showcase also featured a keynote from Joanna Choukeir of the RSA,who champions design for social innovation, and breakout sessions on sustainable innovation and emerging entrepreneurship trends.

Tom Ellson, Director of the Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, said: “Over the five years since the inception of the Centre our students have continued to exceed our expectations with their creativity and drive.

“In the past month alone Hazel and Amber’s female urinal has featured in hundreds of news stories around the world, showcasing the power of innovation to millions of people.”

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