An Imperial student start-up has developed affordable, integrated technology for fish farmers to monitor and address water quality issues.
Banoo, co-founded by Selly Shafira, an MSc Innovation, Entrepreneurship & Management student at Imperial College Business School, won the top prize of £15,000 at the WE Innovate finals on June 22 for its technology to help fish farmers in Indonesia to be more productive.
WE Innovate is a female entrepreneurship program run by Imperial Enterprise Lab designed to inspire and accelerate the progress of female entrepreneurs. In the in-person final, five finalists competed in the hope of winning a share of a £30,000 prize pool, sponsored by bp.
Over the past 8 years, this groundbreaking program has provided a wide range of opportunities for women interested in entrepreneurship, from developing business ideas and entrepreneurial skills to raising investment and networking.
According to the team, climate change has affected water quality for aquaculture (the practice of farming fish or seafood), increasing the risk of fish kills and inefficient culture. They say farmers can no longer rely on traditional methods to predict weather or water quality, creating huge lost profits without immediate troubleshooting. While Indonesia has immense potential for aquaculture, according to the team, the water quality is low because the fish ponds do not have good oxygen circulation systems, resulting in unhealthy fish. and toxic waste.
Banoo’s solution is an affordable, integrated aquaculture technology that allows fish farmers to monitor and resolve water quality issues in real time through an Internet of Things (IoT) system including a microbubble aeration system, a water quality sensor and mobile applications that allow farmers to monitor their ponds remotely.
This program has helped us a lot, from intellectual property to customer discovery. We launched thanks to WE Innovate. Selly Shafira Banoo CEO
The team’s system floats on fish pond water, producing micro-bubbles to increase dissolved oxygen in the water and improve water quality. In turn, this improves fish metabolism and increases their appetite, and as fish eat more, less fish food will end up as waste on the bottom of the pond, making water waste less harmful to the environment.
Banoo’s Internet of Things sensor monitors water quality, signaling when the system should turn on or off based on oxygen levels in the pool. Their system is powered by solar panels, which means it can be installed anywhere, even in rural areas without electrical infrastructure. Their mobile app allows fish farmers to monitor and control their ponds from anywhere.
After Banoo was announced as the winner of WE Innovate, Selly said, “The biggest thank you goes to my team in Indonesia. They are the ones who make an impact and break the status quo. And thank you farmers – we continue because we know you need our technology. »
“This program has helped us a lot, from intellectual property to customer discovery. We launched thanks to WE Innovate.
Diagnose Gynecological Conditions Earlier
Several additional prizes were awarded during the final. Nominated in second place and winning £7,000, Woost is developing a home blood test kit to regularly monitor biomarkers in menstrual blood to diagnose gynecological conditions earlier. Coupled with a digital platform, women can analyze their results, understand their symptoms, and access revised health information and treatment support. Woost was founded by Melis Eda Ekinci, who holds a PhD in the chemical biology of health and disease.
The team also won the Lauren Dennis Award, including a bespoke 3-month mentorship program to accelerate business ideas beyond the program. The award, named in memory of Lauren Dennis, a former WE Innovate participant who passed away in 2018, is given to a team that demonstrated exceptional entrepreneurship in STEM.
Wastewater Disease Surveillance
In third place and winning £5,000 was Untap, which is developing smart community health monitoring using wastewater. Their solution is wastewater monitoring which could monitor an entire community for diseases such as coronavirus in a single test, guaranteeing 100% participation.
The team say that even before the COVID-19 pandemic, viral transmission in workplaces and communities was a multi-billion pound problem. Now, they say, workplaces and community spaces demand better protection against infectious diseases, but monitoring outbreaks by testing individuals is expensive, time-consuming and invasive (for example, taking blood and saliva samples ).
Untap was co-founded by Faculty of Engineering graduates Claire Trant and Jay Bullen.
Fix the Future and Bug Foods
The finalists, each winning £1,500, were Saved and Team Repair.
Team Repair is developing a program to send electronic gadgets with deliberate defects to children ages 8-12 for repair, designed to teach them key science knowledge and repair skills. The team also received the Engineers in Business award, winning up to £3,000 in funding, mentorship and a professional CV package from Engineers in Business Fellowship, a charity that promotes the importance and value business education for engineers to improve people’s lives and the performance of the UK and global economies. Team Repair was co-founded by design engineering students Megan Hale, Anais Engelmann, Oliver Colebourne, Patrick McGuckian and Oscar Jones.
Saved develops insect-based foods such as cereals, pastas and snacks, taking advantage of insects’ high protein and nutrient content to become an alternative protein. The Saved team, whose founder is an Imperial College Business School MSc Innovation, Entrepreneurship & Management graduate, say cricket protein is 20 times more efficient as a protein source than cattle and produces 80 times less methane . What’s more, insects need less food, land and energy than any other animal protein, according to the team. The team hopes to break stereotypes around eating insects and contribute to the development of a more sustainable food supply chain.
reach the potential
Professor Maggie Dallman, Vice President (International) and Associate Vice Provost (University Partnerships) said: “Supporting female entrepreneurship at Imperial not only helps our female students and graduates realize their potential, but also promotes the important contributions that women make to our society.
“Nowhere is this more important than in STEM fields, where young women are still woefully underrepresented. At Imperial, we are also fortunate to attract students from a wide variety of backgrounds and it is extremely encouraging to see this diversity reflected in this year’s WE Innovate cohort.