'Forgotten Spaces' achieves memorable triumph

Published: 5 May 2016 at 17:31

Winner stood in front a Big Pitch banner

Innovative emergency shelter design wins £13,000 in Anglia Ruskin entrepreneurial competition

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A student who has designed a flat-pack emergency shelter has won £13,000 in a competition for entrepreneurs of the future.

Lucy Tushingham, a third-year Interior Design student, was one of four winners at The Big Pitch Final, a competition run by Anglia Ruskin University’s Centre for Enterprise Development and Research (CEDAR) for students to come up with a business idea and attempt to win funding.

Entitled Forgotten Spaces, Lost Faces, Lucy’s project seeks to develop highly flexible flat-packed emergency accommodation, designed for uses from providing shelter for the homeless or those involved in natural disasters, to ‘glamping’ at music festivals.

The project has grown into a start-up business which will also see the structures sold for use at music festivals, with profits going back into providing the accommodation for the homeless and other social applications, such as the refugee crisis in Europe.

As well as the £10,000 first prize, Lucy’s project received an extra £3,000 offered by Provide, a health and social care provider, for an innovative solution to a social problem.

Lucy, 25 and originally from Warrington, said: 

“The Big Pitch has given me more than I ever thought it could. The mentoring and effort that this competition provides to students to help them to succeed is amazing. This has been one of the best experiences in my life. I’m really excited about where this is going to take me.” 

A prize of £5,000 was given to Computer Science students Ryan Seymour, 21, and Billy Hadlow, 20, both from King’s Lynn, for their Carebind scheme, a piece of software designed to aid home care providers during their day-to-day activities in a more professional way. 

Billy said: 

“It has been a long road since the start of Carebind, but after talking to various care providers in the Norfolk area, we are close to finalising our software. The Elite Care Company, based in Cromer, were pivotal in providing us with the knowledge we needed to really push this project forward.

“The Big Pitch provides a fantastic opportunity for us to develop into a business, and the mentoring provided by CEDAR has pointed us in the right direction.”

Connie Dent, a part-time Illustration student who is based in Cambridge but hails from Carlisle, received £3,000 for her Literally Wonderland project, a dynamic, innovative theatre company offering immersive pop-up dining experiences based on classic literature, such as Alice and Wonderland, and marketed through running themed cafés.

Connie said: 

“It’s amazing to have won this prize. It is really helpful to making my idea a reality. The whole process has been so beneficial, the input from everyone involved has been incredibly valuable, and I’m very grateful for the whole experience.”

Tania Khan, a third-year Graphic Design student, won a one-year free membership to the Future Business Centre in Cambridge, provided by Allia. Her project, Package of Hope, provides parents of children with Down Syndrome with practical information and inspirational stories, aimed at countering the current range of materials which she feels often create fear and anxiety among parents.

Having won through from the initial video pitch stage and a three-day “bootcamp” of interactive seminars, the finalists presented to a panel of CEDAR entrepreneurs during the final at Anglia Ruskin’s Cambridge campus on Wednesday night. The winners were announced later in the evening.

Professor Lester Lloyd-Reason, Director of CEDAR, said: 

“With a record number of entries from across all faculties, the Big Pitch 2016 demonstrates that the entrepreneurial spirit among Anglia Ruskin students goes from strength to strength.&rdquo