Tamara Ustenko, student of Kyiv National University of Technology and Design, social impact category winner, International Public Vote Winner.

When the call for the Big Idea Challenge applications was announced at my university, a teacher told us about the competition and its terms and. At that time, I did not even think to apply, because I thought I would not win. Then my supervisor persuaded me to apply. At the university, I became very interested in textile processing and read a lot of scientific materials about this topic, so my project is about that.

In general, I did not have any difficulties while preparing a pitch. The most important thing was to fit all the necessary information in a one-minute video. At the university, I attended a webinar, where all interested were given advice on how to shoot a video pitch as informatively as possible.

The first hint was to come up with a slogan to start the video with and which would briefly describe the idea of your project. Secondly, the video should be divided into certain parts. Lastly, it is useful to look at examples of successful pitches. I followed all the advice very carefully. I recorded my video at the university laboratory. The first time I did not like the pitch very much, so I had to re-record it.

Of course, after participating in the Big Idea Challenge, I became more experienced, because at that time I was only a second-year student, I was eighteen and had less knowledge. It has been a year from that time and now I feel like I have grown professionally, started working and thinking more broadly.

I was very surprised to hear that I was the youngest participant. At the studying trip to London, I met participants from other countries. I did not expect that the competition would be so beneficial and would provide so many opportunities for development.

In London, I heard feedback on my project from different people and find out how their businesses are developing. Classes at the London Met accelerator were aimed at identifying project’s client and project promoting. We conducted many surveys, researched customer satisfaction, even went outside and looked for future buyers of our product. In such a way I learned that every second person in London recycles waste, including textile waste. I was also able to work with a mentor, to develop a detailed project budget and prepare an action plan.

Competitions such as Big Idea Challenge, provide support and an opportunity to develop. Thanks to the competition, I understood that social impact projects can be turned into business.

I would advise future participants not to be afraid and to try themselves in the competition. Remember that even if the jury does not recognize your project as the winner, there is an online public voting. Who knows, maybe you, like I last year, can get into the international final. To do this, I very actively disseminated information about my project and asked to support me by voting.