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Campus Life Series: Enterprise Spotlight

Can Islington be carbon neutral by 2030?

City students join the fight to make Islington carbon neutral by 2030 at City Starters Weekend.

by Matthew Little (Communications Officer)

With around 100 attendees, 16 ideas and four prizes available, the three-day entrepreneurship competition called students to pitch their business concepts on how they can help make the borough of Islington carbon neutral by 2030 and connect local people to good jobs.

The weekend which was organised by CityVentures, in partnership with Islington Council, invited guest judges and speakers including Cllr Asima Shaikh, Executive Member for Inclusive Economy and Jobs, Caroline Wilson, Head of Inclusive Economy, London Borough of Islington, Antony Noun, Braegen, Cass MBA Alumni and Dr Stefania Zerbinati, Senior Lecturer in Entrepreneurship.

A step into the future

As part of the challenge the campus was recreated into a vision of what Islington in 2030 could look like, with displays including virtual holiday pods, driverless cars, urban jungles and a ‘plant & chips’ takeaway shop.

Using this inspiration students were then tasked with deciding whether they were a ‘fixer’, ‘maker’ or ‘thinker’ and form teams where they developed their pitches.

The fight against carbon emissions

With an emphasis on creating a greener borough, the majority of ideas focused on how they can empower local people to reduce their own carbon footprint while creating job opportunities in Islington.

One of the winners was GreenLO2, an idea that proposed a turbine which could turn household waste water into energy.

Fabian Ronig (MSc Entrepreneurship), said: “We wanted to help people take control of their own carbon emissions by giving them an opportunity to create green energy with something they use every day, like water.

“Not everyone can afford solar panels or electric cars, but maybe if it was something as simple as a turbine in a water system that means every time you flush the toilet or have a shower, that water will create energy.

“Household water pipelines are usually under high pressure every day – we would use a turbine in the main water supply of every house so when water runs through, the turbine will spin and create energy which will power an AC generator.

Fabian Ronig (MSc Entrepreneurship)

“People won’t need to change their habits or adapt their lifestyles, as this water turbine means that everyone can make a difference.”

Mohamed Darwish (MSc Marketing Strategy and Innovation), added that: “Cllr Shaikh helped us understand the problems that Islington is facing and how we can create a business that helps local people and give back to the community where we study.

“To be honest we didn’t think we would win, so I don’t think any of us really know what to do next, however we will sit down together next week and see where we can take this idea and how the Launch Lab might be able to help us.

“The weekend has been a great experience as we have been able to meet like-minded students who want to help the planet. We all only met on Friday and now we might be going into business together!”

Mohamed Darwish (MSc Marketing Strategy and Innovation)

An exciting journey ahead

Other winning ideas included E-TukTuk – a bicycle TukTuk transportation service for Islington; Cora – a device which monitors gas vents and relays information to a smartphone app and We Connect – an app which connects single parent families together in Islington.

Speaking on the event, guest judge Cllr Asima Shaikh said: “It was fantastic to see so many brilliant and inspiring ideas come out of this competition.

“The idea behind GreenLO2 – to enable free, renewable energy generation in every home – is exactly the kind of game-changing thinking we need if we are to tackle climate change head-on and become a net carbon zero borough by 2030. The E-Tuk-Tuk, We Connect and Cora projects all offer the seeds of great solutions that would improve lives too.

“I’m really excited to see what this talented group of students can do with these ideas – congratulations again to everyone who took part.”

Cllr Asima Shaikh


GreenLO2 full team:  Fabian Ronig (MSc Entrepreneurship); Mohamed Darwish (MSc Marketing Strategy and Innovation); Darlene Kijemba (MSc Entrepreneurship); Miley Wei, (MSc Innovation, Creativity and Leadership) and Lional Roy Sharon (MSc Shipping, Finance and Trade).

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