Enterprise support

Sophia wins investment at Enterprise Stars

Saturday, 04 August 2018

Sophia wins investment at Enterprise Stars

A postgraduate student from the School of Architecture at Oxford Brookes has won investment after competing in University Alliance’s national Enterprise Stars 2018 competition.

A postgraduate student from the School of Architecture at Oxford Brookes has won investment after competing in University Alliance’s national Enterprise Stars 2018 competition.

Sophia Bannert was supported by Brookes Enterprise Support to take part in the annual showcase that aims to find the Enterprise Stars of tomorrow and puts student experience at its heart.

Sophia scooped £1,000 for her Bee-Able app which aims to transform cities into places of equality and inclusivity, whether people are wheelchair users, visually impaired, parents with pushchairs or just carrying heavy suitcases. Sophia is drawing on her studies to tackle the physical and social barriers in cities for people with disabilities or access needs and last year Sophia’s project won a design award from the Royal Society of Arts.

Sophia commented, “Over the past year I have been developing Bee-Able with the support and guidance of some fantastic mentors including the Enterprise Support team at Oxford Brookes from whom I was very grateful to receive an Enterprise Support Award in March.”

She continued, “The whole day was very inspiring and it felt fantastic to win. Having only five minutes to communicate a year’s worth of work was a challenge, but I’ve really developed my pitching skills!

The recent one-day enterprise festival was hosted by Salford University at MediaCityUK. Entrants from 13 universities pitched their ideas and Sophia Bannert, studying MArchD Applied Design in Architecture at Oxford Brookes was one of three successful winners. Each participant had five minutes to pitch their enterprise to the audience and panel of judges.

Sophia has now developed a prototype map-based app which allows users to rate and review their city’s accessibility. It also allows them to find out which are the mot accessible businesses and book ahead, with confidence, through the use of ‘scores’ on the doors of top-rated places and venues. For those businesses with low scores, Bee-Able will also offer bespoke architectural planning and project management apps to address any accessibility issues highlighted by app users.

Sophia is now planning a crowdfunding campaign to try and raise the rest of the investment needed to lift Bee-Able into the pilot stage.