Five groups of entrepreneurs from across Wales and the wider UK have been given the funding to turn their visions for the Wales Coast Path into a reality.
New phones apps, tourism ideas and business tools were among the five winning entries of Ordnance Survey’s GeoVation challenge, held in Cardiff’s SWALEC Stadium on Wednesday, July 18.
Budding entrepreneurs across Great Britain were tasked with coming up with new innovations and ideas to help Wales make the most of its new coast path – with a slice of £125,000 available for the winners.
And they did not disappoint. Five winners were awarded funding following successful pitches to a judging panel. They were:
- Perfect Visitor Companion is an idea by Jamie Hanna and Julie McNiece of MyTourTalk. This multimedia video experience will guide visitors to the Wales Coast Path through a smartphone app that would be 100% accessible as the data would be stored offline. This group was awarded £40,000.
- Food Finder is an idea by sisters Helen and Nicola Steer. This online app and offline map would highlight local, sustainable and delicious food (and beer), farms, wild food hotspots, food activities and places to eat along the path. Awarded £30,000, Food Finder also won the Community Award of £1,000 after a vote from the invited audience.
- Igam Ogam is an idea from Cardigan team Steve Knight, Sean Vicary and Rowan O’Neill. This bi-lingual smartphone app will tell people’s local stories of the places and features along the path for visitors to the areas. It was awarded £30,000.
- Living Paths is an idea by Roger Bamkin and Robin Owain of Monmouthpedia. It will allow communities along the path to create a Wikipedia page and post stories about their communities allowing diverse local information to become accessible. It was awarded £17,500.
- Growing Routes is an idea by Richard Fairhurst. This web-based app which will combine data from a variety of sources to provide gap analysis and help build economies along the path by showing where the businesses opportunities are. It was awarded £7,500.
Chris Parker, one of the GeoVation organisers at Ordnance Survey, said: “This GeoVation challenge has been a big success. We were very impressed with some of the new ideas and innovations that entrepreneurs came up with. I am sure that communities, businesses and visitors along the path will benefit significantly.
“We asked people to come up with ideas that will solve real problems through the use of geography and innovation. These five winning entries will prove a boost to business and communities and will enrich the experience of tourists visiting the path.”
GeoVation is an innovation network from Ordnance Survey supporting new geography and mapping based business ventures that have an economic, social or environmental benefit for the country. GeoVation does this by running themed challenges, which address real world problems and opportunities.
With the path now officially open, the GeoVation Challenge, Wales’ first Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI), funded in partnership with Ramblers Cymru, the Welsh Government and the Technology Strategy Board (TSB), looked at how people who live and work near the path can benefit from this ‘world first’ opportunity.
Notes to editors:
The recently opened Wales Coast Path is the first coastal network in the world to cover an entire country. The 870 mile-long path stretches from the Dee estuary in north-east Wales to Chepstow in the south-east with breathtaking scenery.
As part of its GeoVation Challenge, Ordnance Survey challenged entrepreneurs across Great Britain to use innovation and geography to come up with ideas for ventures, products and applications, which would help connect communities and visitors along the path, benefiting those who live and work along the route, and beyond. Ideas have been developed in response to community based workshops, which identified problems associated with the path that need to be solved.
Following a GeoVation camp, where entrepreneurs’ ideas were developed and pitched to judges, the entries were whittled down to just seven finalists. Five winning entries were chosen from the seven at SWALEC Stadium in Cardiff on Wednesday, July 18.
As part of the challenge we asked people to fulfil some of the following aims:
- How can we stimulate local business growth off the back of genuine problems that need solving?
- How can more be done for local communities to support and use the path?
- How can we engage and empower children and young people to use, take more interest in, and become proud of the Wales Coast Path?
- How do we provide accessible information to help people to plan their walks based on their needs, abilities and expectations?
- How can we provide a joined-up public transport system across the Wales Coast Path?