12 February 2020

A smartphone app that helps students with their mental health and a Scottish-themed dancing experience that supports the homeless were the two winning ideas from this year's Make Your Mark 48-hour challenge.
Make Your Mark 2020 | Photo by Eoin Carey

The Business School brought together 86 undergraduate students from 14 schools across the University of Edinburgh, placing them in interdisciplinary groups with the task of creating a business that has a positive social impact.

Over the two days they got inspiration from speakers including Zakia Moulaoui of Invisible Cities, the Social Stories Club, Edinburgh Community Yoga, and Space at the Broomhouse Hub.

Academics from our Entrepreneurship, Marketing, Organisational Studies, and Strategy groups along with our Professional Services staff gave advice, feedback, and helped judge the teams' pitches.

One of the winners, Think-Do-Bloom, proposed a mental health app to help students with their well-being.

Jenny Britton, Head of Executive Development at the Business School, said:

"Think-Do-Bloom impressed me from the outset. They clearly worked well together as a team and thought about their potential target audiences before settling on the student community and ways in which they could support self-help. In a 48-hour challenge the pressure is on but they had a logo of a hammock in some palm trees to keep sprits up.

"Their idea incentivises positive behaviour and allows for flexibility, so could be extended to group and peer-support activities. They identified the various points of transitions from high school to university to work and the ways in which their app could help students at each point in that journey."

The other winner, Streets, proposed a tourism experience with social impact—authentic Scottish country dancing that gives people in Edinburgh who have housing issues a chance for personal growth.

Helen Ryall, Head of Student Experience at the Business School, said:

"Streets wrestled with their ideas, business model, and viability, and challenged their own and each others' assumptions about homeless people, Scottish-themed dances, and finances. What they finally presented to the judges was an ethical and sustainable tourism model with social impact which would provide training and employment for homeless people in Edinburgh and an authentic dance experience for visiting tourists.

"Just as their proposed business model would encourage personal growth through the power of dance and music for homeless people, I also saw the same impact happening over the course of Make Your Mark for the members of this group through the power of team work, which resulted in a slick presentation and excellent articulation of the issue."