Entrepreneurial students shortlisted in top start-up competition 

One to watch!

A group of three former students of Barking & Dagenham College have been shortlisted in the finals of one of the biggest UK start-up entrepreneur competitions, the Shell Livewire competition.

OOZE Drinks entrepreneurs Samson Opayemi, 23, Valerie Akano, 25, and Giuseppe Baidoo, 27, who studied for HNDs in product design at Barking & Dagenham loThe trio, who all live in Barking & Dagenham, completed HNDs in product design at the college last year. During his final year of college, 27 year old Giuseppe Baidoo started to think about innovative ways to reduce food waste after seeing a competition advertised.

Baidoo explains: “I applied for the RSA competition (a global competition for emerging designers), the brief was about finding innovative ways to reduce food waste but unfortunately my idea was not shortlisted.

“After graduated from college, I teamed up with former classmates Samson Opayemi (23) and Valerie Akano (25) and decided spend our summer doing more research in order to find an innovative idea to fight against food waste. 

“On July 2016 we founded OOZE Drinks, a sustainable company with the aim of reducing food waste by saving misshapen and surplus fruits and transforming them into sustainable drinks. These perfectly edible produce are wasted just because they look different in shape.

“After testing our drinks in various events last year, we decided to start raising money in order to be able to start trading this year.  We won the University of East London competition (haberdasher) which involved around 60 start-up companies.

We have also been selected to be part of the Lloyds Bank Entrepreneur Start Up Programme, in partnership with School for Social Entrepreneurs and jointly funded by Big Lottery Fund.

“Lastly we have been shortlisted in the finals of one of the biggest UK start-up entrepreneur competitions - The Shell Livewire competition with a £5000 in funding. In order to come out as winners we will need votes, people can vote for us at https://www.shell-livewire.org/ by clicking on  Giuseppe Baidoo (OOZE Drinks).

“The deadline for the votes is on the 31 August and the winner will be announced afterwards. By winning this competition we will be able to expand our business, spread awareness about food waste and change our current food system for the better.”

An HND is a work-related qualification which can be studied either part or full time, usually over two or four years. It is generally equivalent to the first two years of a three year degree (with honours. You can then, like Guiseppe, Samson and Valerie go onto to university to do a top up year to turn your HND onto a full bachelor’s degree. HHDs are generally much cheaper than a university degree (e.g. a full-time two year HND for £10,000 versus a three year degree for £27,750) and are closely related to jobs/industry.

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