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The Big Pitch is a business idea competition exclusively for undergraduate and postgraduate students at Anglia Ruskin University, from any faculty or campus. Anglia Ruskin aims to find passionate entrepreneurs with exciting, imaginative business ideas and give them the chance to pitch for prize money and support that they need to take their ideas forward. Anglia Ruskin Enterprise Academy provides business mentoring and support as the competition progresses.
Winner: Chris Gibbons, Mechanical Engineering Undergraduate - £3,000 Engineers in Business Prize

Chris won his award for the Smart Wooden Shopping Basket: the Smart Basket is a folding, environmentally friendly shopping basket. Chris explains his big idea in his own words:

The world is turning its attention towards reducing plastic wastage and people are taking actively searching for ways in which plastic usage can be lowered. That means we are in a unique time where products are being introduced and accepted that might not have a short while ago. For example, look at paper straws, five years ago they probably would not have sold very well, now they are in nearly every restaurant!

Plastic shopping bags have been focussed on a lot over the last few years and the usage of them has fallen dramatically. That’s great. However, there is a segment of consumers who, like me, are afflicted with the complete inability to remember to bring the bags into the store, only to realise at the till that they are still in the car or at home. At that point, it is too late to go back and get them.

My solution has been to do my shopping in a basket and then use that same basket to take my shopping from the till to my car, that means there are no bags involved! It does mean that when I get home, I have to take the shopping in bit by bit, which is inconvenient, it would be much easier if I could take the basket home.

Now, that’s where the idea comes in. Smart Basket is an environmentally friendly, folding shopping basket. People who shop with baskets will be able to do their shopping and then take it home in the basket. The basket can then be neatly folded away in the car or house ready for the next shopping trip.

One of the benefits of the basket is that if you do forget to take it out of your car before you go shopping, you will realise on your way into the shop, as you can’t pick up items without it! This means you can go back and get it.
The basket will also have an additional plastic saving feature; it will have a section for fresh fruit/vegetables to go in to. That means that the excessive plastic packaging will not be needed and customers can pick loose vegetables more easily, instead of relying on pre-packaged products.

The next stages of development for the Smart Basket are to finish developing a prototype and to perform end-user testing. Then it is time to pitch the idea to some shops and see how the product is received!

Positive Feedback

The Big Pitch is our annual business ideas competition that is open to all students from all Faculties and main campuses of Anglia Ruskin University. This year we were able to promote the EIB award that brought another dimension. We were able to encourage students from our engineering programmes to enter who would not otherwise have participated. This was the first year of this award and we feel sure we can now build on the success of this year and encourage more engineering students in the future.
Marcia L Baldry-Bryan, Enterprise & Entrepreneurship Manager, Anglia Ruskin Enterprise Academy (AREA)