This weekend 50 students from QMUL took part in the ‘East London Social Hack’, an intensive enterprise bootcamp that tasks participants to set up social enterprises in just 3 days to address key issues in their local community.
The first ‘East London Social Hack’ took place in March 2016 and, due to its popularity, the event was expanded this year with the support of an £18,500 grant from the UPP Foundation. This allowed the bootcamp to be increased from 2 to 3 days, and enabled the winning teams to receive a package of workspace and mentoring for 3 months in co-work space Launch 22, along with £500 of funding to market test their ideas.
The grant also enabled the university to assemble an impressive line-up of 16 local social entrepreneurs who helped students to develop and validate their ideas over the weekend, including Junior Ogunyemi, a QMUL economics graduate and author of ‘How to be a Student Entrepreneur’, Katherine Hibbert, founder of hugely successful property social enterprise DotDotDot, Junior Smart, founder of SOS Gangs Projects, and Alexis Olapido, founder of Gym Bites.
On day 1, students discussed social issues that they were passionate about and formed teams based on their values, culminating with their first pitch of the weekend. They heard from Katherine, who set up DotDotDot Property in Tower Hamlets to link empty property with renters who were willing to volunteer in their local community in return for cheap rent. The company now turns over £1milllion a year and has expanded across London.