Frost & Sullivan Partner Dorman Followwill chaired "The Business of Change 2012" competition at the University of Oxford's Said Business School. The event, organized by the Oxford Centre for Entrepreneurship and Innovation in conjunction with the Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship, was part of Venturefest, the business creation networking event which takes place at the business school every year.
Six breakthrough business ideas for emission reductions were presented to a panel of six distinguished experts from both the business and academic community. The session was led by Frost & Sullivan's Mr Followwill who was part of the panel and, together with the other experts, selected what they thought to be the most innovative idea that will inspire individual and social behavioural change in the future. The LoftZone, presented by its CEO Dave Raval, won the cash prize of GBP1,000.
The experts thought that the raised loft flooring system by LoftZone - that should encourage households to install loft insulation without losing their precious storage space - was well thought through and has high market potential. Furthermore, it will help to spread the adoption of loft insulation in the UK. Twenty-five percent of the heat in a house is lost through the roof unless insulated. Currently, it is difficult to continue using the loft as a storage space once the UK Government recommended 270mm of mineral wool is installed. In fact, placing items on the insulation compresses it, reducing its effectiveness by up to 35%.
EcoAnswers Ltd, trading as LoftZone, tested the market needs before embarking in their idea through a 6,000 response consumer survey which indicated the following:
• 82% of households use their loft for storage;
• 78% of household lofts are more than half full;
• 76% of households say loft storage is important or essential.
The experts at Said Business School were very impressed by the high level of all ideas showcased. "We had to select one - confirmed Mr Followwill - but it wasn't an easy choice to make. They were all very interesting and innovative, and we wish all of them the best of luck in their ventures."
Second past the post was CarbonDiem, who presented their app which helps control CO2 emissions. By automatically detecting your mode of transport, it will show the carbon-footprint of each individual journey, helping to make environmentally smarter choices.
Other business ideas presented at Said Business School included Mobicycle, which seeks to reduce waste from old mobile phones; Eco Action Trumps which hopes to educate while playing; and two separate fuel consumption solutions.
"This competition shows how vital our business community is" concluded Mr Followwill. "This is about generating innovative ideas which are an essential ingredient to survive and thrive."
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