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Students and graduates make impact on society through social enterprise

Published: 25th June 2022 10:33
Encouraging people to venture outdoors, tackling loneliness with bikes and learning to drive with virtual reality were among the finalists from the University of Portsmouth at the National Ingenuity Showcase.

Several entrants from the University showcased their social enterprise ideas at the Showcase which is the last stage of the Ingenuity Competition, run by the University of Nottingham in partnership with the University of Portsmouth.

The Ingenuity Programme is a competition that works with university partners across the UK to focus on creating businesses with impact. Entrants submit their business ideas and work with mentors to develop a business plan and pitch focused on key challenges such as health, climate change and community. 

 Emma Kemp, Portsmouth finalist and founder of Love Outdoors was awarded the prize of Ingenuity Climate Champion, South Coast Champion and the Shakespeare Martineau Legal Prize. 

Emma, who is also a University graduate, set up Love Outdoors to help people overcome barriers to getting outside, improving mental and physical health. To make it easier to find information on things to do and places to go, Emma set up a directory of free activities in the local area which can be searched by location or activity. The community can add their own listings and businesses will be able to work with Emma to advertise their outdoor services.

The funding will enable Emma to further invest in the website and marketing, and purchase items that will really make a difference to the business and in turn the community. 

Emma said: “Having a young family who love spending time outside, but also having first-hand experience of the benefits to spending time outside for my own mental health, I wanted to share my love for the outdoors and the benefits it brings with others. Love Outdoors originally started as a social media community, which I then turned in to a CIC (Community Interest Company). 

“Being part of the Ingenuity programme has been amazing! I have been able to learn how to pitch, write a business plan, and have access to amazing mentors from Nuffield Health, Get Set Solent, and a coach, to turn my ideas in to reality.”

Emma is currently working on two community gardens, one with a Housing Association and another in the grounds of a GP surgery in Gosport - the first of its kind locally. She has big plans for the future to reach more people and grow the Love Outdoors community and has ideas in the pipeline to create active projects, community trails and family outdoor sessions.

She is keen to work with another mentor to guide her through the next stages so would be interested in hearing from anyone who might be able to help. Please visit her website - https://www.loveoutdoors.org.uk/ - or follow @LoveOutdoorsSolent on social media to keep up to date on free and low cost things to do.

Other finalists from Portsmouth included:

  • Nicole Herd with her business Community Kettle, which brings people together through community activities to increase inclusion and reduce social barriers.
  • Bianca David with Bikeables which tackles loneliness by taking elderly and mobility impaired people for a ride in their bikes surrounding them with nature and people.
  • Sultan Mahmud with Online Driving School, helping people who struggle to find or afford driving lessons to learn to drive through augmented reality and virtual reality technology, allowing them to gain more confidence in their driving abilities.

Chris Worrall, Innovation Director at the University of Portsmouth who attended the Showcase, said: “Every year we are seeing quality and impactful social enterprises from the University arise from the Ingenuity Programme. 

“I am proud to see the creative and thoughtful ideas that come from our students, staff and alumni to tackle global challenges and help improve the world we live in. I can’t wait to see what ideas we get next year!”

University of Portsmouth entrants were supported by Innovation Connect at the University. Innovation Connect provides office, co-working, and meeting space as well as business services for a range of local businesses, from start-ups to more established companies across four centres in Portsmouth. 

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