Samsung offers £10,000 prize challenge to young tech entrepreneurs

Samsung offers £10,000 prize challenge to young tech entrepreneurs
Samsung is searching for the next generation of tech entrepreneurs as its Solve for Tomorrow competition opens for entries. Photo: Xing Yun/Costfoto/Barcroft Media via Getty

Samsung (005930.KS) is offering £10,000 and a chance for young tech entrepreneurs in the UK and around the world to develop their idea.

The Solve for Tomorrow competition is aimed at finding tech solutions to help tackle the UK's main societal issues — education, sustainability, social isolation, diversity and inclusion.

Samsung is calling on those aged between 16 and 25 to put forward their ideas. Several successful entrants will be given the opportunity to take part in a series of workshops and one-to-one mentoring with Samsung experts.

Mentors will advise entrants on how to apply real-world thinking to their idea as they look to set up their business and turn their concept into a reality.

One winner will receive six months of support from Samsung UK and Digital Catapult, the UK's leading advanced digital technology innovation centre, to help them develop their ideas, as well as £10,000.

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Last year's winner, 24-year-old Alec Conway from Rochester, created a digital locker idea to help support homeless people through his project, Dignity.

The locker also works as a PO box, offering a postcode to sign up to local services such as the NHS and housing benefit and a personal address when applying for jobs, bank accounts and appointments. The locker is also a safe place to store possessions and is accessible 24 hours a day.

Alec came up with the idea when thinking of ways to support the estimated 290,000 people experiencing homelessness in the UK.

Last year's winner Alec Conway's digital locker to help support people experiencing homelessness. Photo: Solve for Tomorrow
Last year's winner Alec Conway's digital locker to help support people experiencing homelessness. Photo: Solve for Tomorrow

Alec drew on his real-life experiences to inspire his idea. "The idea was borne out of interrailing and travelling round Europe. While I was there, I saw a lot of people experiencing homeless, carrying their possessions with them. It was a sight that stuck in mind. After the trip, I was looking at those Amazon parcels collection units and began thinking about how they could be transferable," said Alec.

The support from Samsung since winning the competition helped him to "take a step back and analyse the best plan".

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"Samsung is funding the first prototype which is moving the project forward in the right direction. Getting the first prototype out there enables us to really understand the problem, what can be done better, what the users feel when they use it and how it is benefiting them," he said.

The competition is now in its second year in the UK, and also runs across the world — receiving more than 1.8 million entrants globally.

The scheme is backed by successful entrepreneurs including Georgie Hyatt, founder of Rotaro – a cult label fashion rental site and app which aims to create a circular economy and make fashion more sustainable. Also involved is Mariam Jimoh, founder of Oja, an app that allows people to order specialist cultural foods in south and east London and have them delivered. Jimoh raised $3.4m (£2.5m) in her funding round and plans to roll Oja out nationally.

Previous winner Conway is also involved, as well as Ibrahim Javed, founder of Deen Developers, a not-for-profit organisation that brings together people in the tech and creative industries to build solutions that solve community problems.

The winning team for Solve for Tomorrow will be announced in July 2022, following two judging rounds by a panel of experts from across the worlds of tech, innovation and social and community initiatives.

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Sophie Edgerley Harris, head of corporate social responsibility at Samsung Electronics UK said: “Solve for Tomorrow was created as a platform and community to encourage 16–25-year-olds to develop their ideas using tech for societal good — no qualification required.

"Our search for innovative thinkers and supporting successful applicants to develop their ideas is such an exciting thing to be a part of whether you’re a participant, a mentor, or a judge. Every year we are blown away with the creative approaches to providing answers to society’s biggest issues."

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