Student competes in enterprise competition with project on accessibility in cities

Wednesday, 13 June 2018


A postgraduate student from the School of Architecture at Oxford Brookes will be seeking investment as part of University Alliance’s Enterprise Stars competition this week (Thursday 14 June).

Building on the success of their 2017 pilot Innovating Future Business competition, University Alliance is running an annual showcase and competition to attract investment for student start-ups.

Enterprise Stars 2018 is a programme with student experience at its heart and aims to find the enterprise stars of tomorrow.

The one-day enterprise festival will be hosted by Salford University at MediaCityUK, culminating in the opportunity for students to win investment and business advice from a panel of investors.

Sophia Bannert, studying MArchD Applied Design in Architecture at Oxford Brookes, was chosen to pitch her project Bee-able which aims to propel real change in the way architects and designers approach disability in cities.  

Bee-able is a rating system for accessibility in the city powered by user-generated content and a set of illustrations that show the frustrations thousands of people go through on a daily basis due to inaccessible and exclusive design. Last year Sophia’s project won a design award from the Royal Society of Arts.

Over the past year I have been continuing to develop Bee-able, with the support and guidance of some fantastic mentors including the Enterprise Support team at Oxford Brookes.

Sophia Bannert, MArchD Applied Design in Architecture, Oxford Brookes University

Sophia commented: “We all know how difficult it is navigating cities. Can you imagine how difficult it would be if you couldn’t see where you were going or couldn’t go up and down steps? Many people don’t need to imagine this because it is their reality. Barriers confining them can be as simple as a narrow pathway, or lack of clear signage.

“Over the past year I have been continuing to develop Bee-able, with the support and guidance of some fantastic mentors including the Enterprise Support team at Oxford Brookes. I was very grateful to receive an Enterprise Support Award in March. I am currently looking for further funding for the project - so I am excited to pitch Bee-able to the investors.”

Investors at the event will include Tim Foster MBE, social entrepreneur and Olympic gold medallist, who works as a professional business coach mentor to major companies as well as mentoring students at Oxford Brookes.

Tim said: “It is great to be involved in the Enterprise Stars competition. The innovation and passion displayed by young entrepreneurs is always inspirational and contagious, and the skills they learn and display are fantastic tools that give them an advantage in the wider world.  

“At Oxford Brookes I have been working with young entrepreneurs for the last four years and I enjoy seeing, and being part of, them developing their dreams and being successful.”

Visit the School of Architecture’s website to find out about available courses.