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19 December, 2017 - 15:38 By Tony Quested

Students pitch business ideas at the Cambridge Barclays Eagle lab

Five Cambridge students pitched their business ideas to a group of experts as part of the Barclays Local Genius competition.

The competition aims to encourage budding entrepreneurs to design technology ideas that could make a difference to the local community.

Seventy students initially entered and their ideas went to a public vote where the entries were reduced down to five finalists. The five local finalists, from Cambridge and Anglia Ruskin Universities, then pitched their business idea to a panel consisting of Barclays managers, local businesses and entrepreneurs at the Barclays Eagle Lab in Cherry Hinton Road, Cambridge.

To qualify for the competition, the entries needed to be original, have a grounding in technology, contribute to the wellbeing of the local community, be realistic and achievable with readily available tech.

The competition took place in five places – Manchester, Birmingham, Cambridge, Bournemouth and Brighton – with the winning entry in each area going forward to a national final at Barclays’ headquarters building in London. The national winner will receive mentoring from subject matter experts from across Barclays to help them get their idea off the ground.

The winning idea in Cambridge is called Rehome and is the brainchild of James Mayers. Rehome is a safer and secure way of rehoming pets. 

Rehome aims to avoid placing animals in shelters temporarily by connecting people who want to rehome pets with those who wish to adopt. Animal welfare is very important to me so for this reason all transitions through Rehome will be overseen by a nominated local charity so the suitability of a new owner can be assessed as well as the well-being of the animal.

Rehome will also collate all animals available for rehoming from various local charities making it easier for people to adopt the perfect pet. Rehome is a non-profit organisation and any profits generated will be shared between charities registered with the website.

James Mayers, said: “I am thrilled that I won my local final, I felt that all the ideas had great potential and for this reason I am really grateful to be chosen. I am looking forward to the final and the great opportunity and experience it will bring.”

Ben Storey, manager of the Cambridge Eagle Lab and one of the judging panel, said: “I was genuinely impressed with the range of ideas and the ability of the students to pitch to the judging panel. I look forward to seeing all the finalists further developing their ideas and wish James every success in the final.”

• PHOTOGRAPH SHOWS: James Mayers of Eagle Labs

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