08 Oct 2013

Only three weeks left to apply! (and some interesting problems)

By Lily

[subtitle]There are only three weeks left to apply for Bethnal Green Ventures Winter 2014 programme! Do you have an idea to use technology to solve some of our biggest social problems? Need help and some money to get started? Get in touch! [/subtitle]


We are always open for coffee and a chat to talk over your idea, give feedback and talk you though the BGV programme. Just drop us a line on hello@bethnalgreenventures.com

You can read more about how the programme works here and about our alumni here. And you can apply here.

Just to get you thinking here are some problems that we think are interesting, obviously don’t feel you have to limit yourself to these…


The new old – Whether you think it’s a demographic time bomb or see it as more of an opportunity, there’s little doubt we need to reinvent the way we care for our elders. Again this will need new models of finance and organisation. How can we get beyond the idea of dwindling pensions and depressing care homes?

Keeping the lights on – If we’re going to tackle climate change, we need new products and services that will help people reduce their energy use by a factor of 10 not just by a few per cent. And we need new ways of getting zero-carbon energy generation to be adopted. How would you do that?

Unleashing underused assets and products – One of the main problems of twentieth century consumerism was that we all had to have one of everything. It made sense for companies to try and sell us new things all the time. In a resource constrained century, that no longer makes sense. Could you build something that helps co-ordinate sharing, lending and swapping of real world durable goods and property?

Hacking education – Education hasn’t changed in structure since the 19th Century but the world has. There’s massive frustration with the system in the developed world and a crying need for brand new approaches in the developing world. Could you build new ways to organise, finance and expand education?

Prevention engines – We all know prevention is better than cure, yet almost all of us wait until it’s too late before we do anything about it. The problem is that public services generally only know about people when it’s too late. Could you build services that help get to people before they know they need help?

Access to real food – Much like consumer goods, the industrial age made cheap food possible. That was great, but also led to problems. Now we have different needs for a food system. We’re interested in ideas that can make a healthy, sustainable food system just as efficient as the over-processed, wasteful system we have now.

Insuring the uninsurable – What about applying the principles of peer-to-peer lending models to insurance? It’s a massive issue for many people if they’re already close to the edge and something goes wrong.

Disaster technology – When everything goes wrong, technology can save lives. Knowing where people are and being able to get the things they need to them as quickly as possible is vital. If we can do it for ecommerce, we can do it for saving lives. But we need more tools and services.

Loneliness – Partly linked to issues of ageing above, but actually a much wider concern is loneliness. Changes in the way our towns and cities are organised and the way we live our lives in terms of family structures and work have led to a rise in mental health problems – often linked to the number and quality of social relationships people have. Technology is just as good at helping people meet people in the real world as it is at helping them meet online. How could you use technology to help build real world communities?