Competition wants SMBs’ life-improving tech ideas

£10,000 prize from BT for innovative initiatives that help people better manage challenging lives.

Chloe Green | 9th May 18
Image of elderly man using VR headset, representing the Better World Innovation Challenge.

A new Dragons’ Den-style competition that aims to find innovative technologies for improving people’s lives has been launched by BT Infinity Lab and TechHub. It is looking for start-ups and SMEs to come forward with ideas that create opportunities for those in society who may find aspects of their life in some way challenging.

The Better World Innovation Challenge is the first ‘Better World’ themed competition to be run as part of the BT Infinity Lab programme. It is the latest competition to recognise the innovation efforts of SMEs.

“The competition will recognise tech start-ups and small business ventures whose declared purpose is to make life better for others,” said Katherine Ainley, Managing Director of Better World at BT.

“For instance, how could technology help busy single parents better juggle childcare with their further education? Are there new technologies that can help people with disabilities to better engage with the activities they love most? Or can technology perhaps play a critical role in helping retired people looking for part-time work to gain new skills and re-enter the workplace?”

Ainley added: “However start-ups and SMEs can help through technology – whether that be providing enhanced access to work, sport, education or recreational activities – BT is interested in hearing about these new technologies.”

The winner will receive a £10,000 prize, as well as the opportunity to trial its product or service with BT’s employees and with its customers. BT will act as an incubator for the winners’ technology, giving them six months’ support with access to the company’s research and development resources, commercial and marketing expertise and resources.

Global community for tech entrepreneurs and start-ups TechHub is also offering the winner six months’ access to its London office in Tech City, to provide access to workspaces and industry events.

“Within BT’s Ventures unit, we have an area which is purely focused on finding technology that will improve the quality of life for individuals,” continued Katherine Ainley. “Digital technology has the potential to transform lives – for the elderly, people with mental health conditions, people with visual or hearing impairments, disabled and for disadvantaged, and socially-excluded people.”

Entrants need to do is register their interest in the competition which can be found at www.btplc.com/btinfinitylab/betterworld. Applications (deadline: 18 June 2018) must include submission of a short video which outlines the product or service. Finalists will be invited to BT Tower on 26 July 2018 to pitch their ideas to a panel of BT high-ups, after which the winner will also be announced.

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