Sustainability-minded ReFunk wins Provost Innovation Challenge

A team of students with a novel idea for a sustainability-minded social enterprise emerged victorious in the 2020 Provost Innovation Challenge.

The team – ReFunk – is building a platform that allows users to list unwanted belongings and materials, which another user can then collect and upcycle. The upcycler will sell the product on the platform and then provide the original donator with a percentage of the profit.

The first runner-up was Suss Solutions, a team of students working on an add-on that will integrate with a user’s mobile banking app of choice to provide rewards for sustainable purchases.

In total, 14 teams made up of almost 50 students took part, with teams comprising undergraduates and postgraduates, and representatives from all three of Trinity’s faculties.

Ken Finnegan, CEO of Tangent, Trinity’s Ideas Workspace, said:

“Each year the Provost Innovation Challenge demonstrates the commitment of our students to make the world a better and more sustainable place for us all to live in. This year that spirit and determination has been amplified by the pandemic.

“The calibre of ideas from our students, and their desire to make a difference, was outstanding. The future really does look hopeful and bright thanks to that passion. I want to congratulate everyone that participated on the Provost Innovation Challenge and encourage them to progress with their ideas to make our cities more sustainable.”

The teams pitched their solutions to judges, after working intensively on them all weekend, with mentors from LaunchBox alumni, the startup ecosystem, and Smart Dublin providing invaluable feedback throughout.

As winners of the challenge, ReFunk won €2,000 and Tangent will now help them get their idea off the ground with the incentive of a spot in the highly successful accelerator programme, LaunchBox, over the summer – if they have made sufficient progress in the ensuing months.