A view of Glasgow

Strathclyde Business School

Going West with social business idea

By Caitlin Connolly - Posted on 6 April 2016

A team of students from the Hunter Centre for Entrepreneurship is heading to Texas to take part in an international social enterprise competition. Team member Caitlin Connolly outlines how they got to this stage.

We are so excited to be heading to Texas for the Values & Ventures social enterprise competition to present our idea for the BeFriend app. Our app, designed to combat loneliness in older people, began life in a brainstorming session as part of an internal competition run by the Hunter Centre for Entrepreneurship to select a group to compete in the Texas competition.

We loved taking part in the Hunter Centre competition and the opportunity to visit Texas to participate in an international competition was a great incentive to come up with a great idea.

We were friends before forming the team and I think through the range of subjects we are studying, together with our different backgrounds and work experience, we bring a mix of skills to the team which helped when we were brainstorming ideas. Jack Simpson and I storyboarded and created the look of the app; Ross Ford focused on growth potential and finances; Amy Hyslop researched the data used in helping target potential users; and Lisa Higgins focused on marketing for the app.

As part of the Hunter Centre competition we got to experience a business trade show, create a business plan and design promotional material. Some of it was challenging at times as it tested our business skills in a practical context, but it has been very rewarding too.

To participate in the competition, our business had to tackle a social issue and one that was close to our hearts was loneliness. We initially wanted to create an app to target all lonely people across the UK to allow them to network and communicate with one another. However we realised that this target audience was too big so focused on the generation of 65+ year olds. At that stage in life some people may have lost a loved one or their children have moved away and they are lacking connection with others. We were aware that technology usage among the elderly is on the increase and as we all work in environments where we interact with elderly people, we understand this is a real issue which makes us even more determined to succeed.

Essentially, BeFriend will connect people to social activities and events in their local area. Using location services, the user can browse activities and events happening in their vicinity visually on a map, find out information about these events, see who else is attending the event and then chat to others online who have similar interests and hobbies. The user can personalise their own profile by posting updates, writing about their favourite past-times, and scheduling their own calendar with classes that they choose to attend. For those who are not so adept with technology, we’re including help buttons on each page of the app which will provide detailed instructions to users on how to navigate the app easily.

We are really grateful to be travelling to Texas to compete against teams from all over the world. We’ve been busy preparing presentations, an elevator pitch, a business plan and a promotional video which we’ve had a lot of fun doing. None of us has been to Texas before so we’re excited to see what the local culture is like and we can’t wait to hear the business ideas from the other teams in the competition.

We’re really excited to see what the future holds and, whatever happens in Texas, we are determined to gain investment and make our app available to the public. Watch this space!

Contact details

 Undergraduate admissions
 +44 (0)141 548 4114

 Postgraduate admissions
 +44(0)141 553 6118 / 6119


Strathclyde Business School
University of Strathclyde
199 Cathedral Street
G4 0QU

Triple accredited

AACSB, AMBA and Equis logos
Winner THE 2016 Business School of the year logo