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Students’ international success in the Dell Social Innovation Challenge

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Students’ international success in the Dell Social Innovation Challenge

Two enterprising PhD students from The University of Manchester have achieved great success in the the Dell Social Innovation Challenge. Hiren Odedra and Xun Huang, both studying for a PhD in Biotechnology in the Faculty of Life Sciences, came 2nd in Europe out of 78 entries and 27th overall out of a total of 1,783 entries worldwide.

 

Their business idea is to establish a chain of ethical, rainforest themed coffee shops across UK under the brand name Coffrica. They propose that 70% of the profit from the venture would be used to help conserve the environment, curb starvation and help the homeless in the UK. The two students worked on the business idea with three other student colleagues from universities in the UK and India.

 

“It is a great opportunity to develop a network of mentors, advisors and fellow students who share a common interest."

 

Hiren commented: “I found out about Dell Social Innovation Challenge on the Manchester Enterprise Centre Facebook page. The competition is aimed at identifying and supporting young social innovators who want to work to solve the world's most pressing problems with their transformative ideas.

 

“It is a great opportunity to develop a network of mentors, advisors and fellow students who share a common interest. Achieving the final positions we have through the public voting has made us more confident about our idea – we want to make it a reality!”

 

"I would advise other students with any business ideas to participate in Venture Out and Venture Further!”

 

This isn’t the first time this business idea has had success with the team having won the 2020 Award in Manchester Enterprise Centre’s Venture Out competition in 2011. This award goes to those ideas that will help the University of Manchester to become one of the top 25 research universities in the world by 2020.

 

Hiren said: “The Venture Out competition and Venture Further workshops helped me to polish my idea and make it realistic. The feedback and support we received from the judges and Dr. Martin Henery was excellent. I would advise other students with any business ideas to participate in Venture Out and Venture Further!”

 

The team of social entrepreneurs is currently looking for potential investors and other financial support to open their first rainforest themed coffee shop in Manchester and turn their idea into a reality

 

Coffrica entry on the Dell Social Innovation Challenge website >>

Dell Social Innovation Challenge website >>

What is 'social enterprise'? >>

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