Students pitch innovative ideas in business challenge competition

Date 23.11.2021

Students pitched innovative ideas to support Northamptonshire fruit-produce business, Blue Skies, to enhance their sustainable business practices, at the annual FBL Challenge business competition.

Undergraduate, post-graduates and MBA students from across the Faculty of Business and Law presented their creative solutions to tackle Blue Skies operational goals to create zero waste, net-zero emissions, and zero poverty within their global operations.

In the hotly contested business competition, students presented a host of potential developments for Blue Skies, including using fruit by-products from operations to serve the emerging market of plant-based feminine hygiene products, a plastic-free development for the supermarket packaging and brand presentation, and diversifying the Blue Skies product range to include fruit-based fabrics.

Senior figureheads at Blue Skies and from within the University listened to the propositions from the four student teams, and assessed the presentations on quality, depth of industry knowledge, creativity, and innovation.

The winning idea, pitched by Law students Kyle Willis and Drishtee Bhowaneesing, with their plan to introduce a plastic alternative into the Blue Skies packaging, by the cultivation of seaweed, which can be transformed into a plastic-like wrap. The idea gave the Blue Skies team food for thought. Not least because the seaweed wrapping could be edible alongside their products.

Simon Derrick, Head of Sustainability at Blue Skies, said: “Blue Skies are committed to adding value at source and throughout our operations, and to continually embrace sustainable business practices. To do that, we need to always be one step ahead to foresee and respond to commercial and climate challenges.

“The hard work and creativity that the students put into their presentations have been truly inspiring. It was very difficult to pick just one winner from such enthusiastic teams, by participating each of the teams are winners in my eyes, congratulations to everyone who took part.

“The winning idea from Kyle and Drish has got me and the other members of the team thinking, and we’re excited to see what can be developed here with the students and the University.”

Dr Ebenezer Laryea, Senior Lecturer in Law and organiser of the FBL challenge, said: “I’m very proud of all the students who participated in this year’s FBL Challenge. The recent UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) has had the eyes and minds of the world focused on the climate crisis and the importance of embracing innovative solutions now, to act to save our future. The kind of lateral thinking and fresh ideas that we saw from the students who took part has been inspiring and could mean a bright future for our planet as we tackle the climate emergency.”

All the FBL Challenge 2021 finalists.

The four finalists were:

Kyle and Drish: Kyle Willis and Drishtee Bhowaneesing, both studying Law.

Teen Pattie: Satvik Shah, Marketing Management, Maanveen Kaur, Law, and Yash Ghaghe, Economics & Accounting.

The Legal Eagles: Katie Constant, Alex Boddington, Victoria Manning-Shelford, and Nele Klinkosch, all studying Law.

ACD: Daniel Churches, Tom Ansell, and Sarah Dixon, all studying Law.