Anna Sowerby, Law student and Bright Ideas winner, took home £250 after pitching her idea ‘Transgender Athletes and Equality’ to a panel of judges at the competition final – congratulations Anna!
Anna, please tell me a bit about your idea.
My idea is a threefold social enterprise model, focussing on raising awareness of the challenges faced by transgender athletes. Firstly, there would be a conference aimed at the public, sports event organisers, national governing bodies and athletes, in order to raise awareness of the discrimination, the current legal standing, and possible areas of improvement. Secondly, advisory workshops would be offered to those susceptible to legal action, if guidelines were not followed. Finally, as it is a social enterprise, the money raised would help get a rising sports star, who is transgender, to help achieve their goal.
What inspired you to enter Bright Ideas?
What inspired my idea was reading a news article, where a 10yr old was disqualified after coming second in a national competition, because she was transgender. This triggered the lawyer in me, as I thought that this is an area that needs to be looked at, however, this cannot be done unless awareness is raised to the issue. Therefore, my idea came to light, and I intend to pursue it in my future career.
How do you feel about the judging process and the feedback you received from our judges?
The judging process was extremely valuable, it is much easier explaining your ideas in person rather than on paper. The judges at the Trigger event were helpful in developing the idea, and making you think deeper into areas you hadn’t considered. The overall feedback I got from the final was extremely encouraging. To think that others in the industry believe that my idea is a noble cause is great. It is even better when one of the judging panel says you should become a barrister, when you are doing a law degree. Overall, despite the process being challenging, it was extremely useful.
What are you most proud of?
I am more proud of the fact that I have raised awareness amongst the contestants and got them thinking about the issues, although to be a runner up is a huge achievement, when you are going up against some truly amazing ideas. Some amazing feedback such as being a great public speaker and that I should become a barrister gives me huge confidence in pursuing my career as a lawyer.
What do you aim to do with your winnings from Bright Ideas?
This is a really tricky question, but at the moment I intend it to go towards my Legal Practice Course (LPC), which will give me the qualification to become a lawyer. I suppose it is an investment into my career so that one day I can put my idea into practise.
Looking back, what would you have done differently with your idea?
Looking back, I would probably have reached the social enterprise model sooner, so that the judges could have helped me develop the idea even more. Although I am extremely pleased with the final proposal that I put to the judges, especially as it took me a while to work out how the idea would be phrased and the benefit it would have on a wider society.
How do you feel about the overall experience of entering Bright Ideas?
The overall experience has been second to none. Going up against some really amazing ideas has helped me develop my own thinking, and how to look at things from a different perspective. Everyone was so lovely and welcoming, and we all became good friends by the end, which is what entering competitions like this is all about.
There is huge passion at the university to help students achieve their aims, and to give them a head start with their career, which this competition has certainly given me. Through Bright Ideas, I have developed a simple idea, into a sustainable social enterprise model, which I can now use as a tangible skill in my future career, as well as developing my ‘pitch-making’ skills.
How did Enterprise and Kingston University support you in developing and growing your ideas?
I had lots of support before I even reached the Trigger event. I remember discussing my idea with the event organiser to see whether it would be an idea worth entering, and I certainly am glad I did! Also, I remember discussing it with my lecturers at the law school who thought it was truly original, which gave me more confidence to enter. When we got to the Trigger event, the Enterprise team were really helpful in developing my idea further, from putting onto a structured business plan, into a 3-minute pitch. The tips received from Enterprise were extremely valuable with regards to the pitch and how it should be structured, which is emphasised through my feedback, as I was complimented a few times on the structure and delivery of my pitch.
Without enterprise you can never fully understand how an organisation works. We are surrounded by enterprise. Enterprise is not always found in the word ‘business’.