Loughborough University host the first Ford Motor Company Fund Smart Mobility Accelerator event bringing together student teams from across Europe

On Thursday 14 and Friday 15 September, Loughborough School of Design and Creative Arts (SDCA) hosted the first pilot event for the Ford Motor Company Fund Smart Mobility Accelerator, a bolt-on event to the Ford Fund Smart Mobility Challenge.

Fellow challenge hosts and competitors from TH Köln, Universidad Politechnica de Madrid, and Universitat de Valencia visited the school to participate alongside SDCA students and staff.

SDCA have partnered with Ford Fund for the past 5 years, giving students the opportunity to work on real-world briefs and receive grant awards to invest in projects with the most potential.

The Smart Mobility Challenge is designed to encourage students to develop sustainable mobility solutions with clear community benefits, helping people to move freely, safely, and securely.

Read more about how funds have been invested in Loughborough students to help them advance their ideas which have the potential to offer solutions to communities of the future.

This year, for the first time, the Ford Fund has launched the Ford Smart Mobility Accelerator – giving ten teams, who have driven their enterprises forward since their ideas first emerged through the Challenge, the opportunity to come together and network with like-minded teams from the UK, Spain and Germany. During the two-day event, held at Loughborough University, participants heard from guest speakers on topics including project validation, financial sustainability, and business modelling, participated in an entrepreneurial workshop delivered by a former SDCA alumni, goya design, before pitching their ideas and future plans to win a scale-up grant.

Speaking of the event, Debbie Chennells, Ford Fund Manager, Ford of Europe, said:

The creativity, innovation and motivation of these young entrepreneurs is impressive. Since launching the challenge, I have always wanted the opportunity to bring these young minds together so they can benefit from peer-to-peer support and encouragement.

Dr Stuart Cockbill – SDCA primary Smart Mobility Challenge lead and organiser of the first Smart Mobility Accelerator on the Schools behalf, said:

This was a great opportunity for both students and academic staff from across Europe to come together, share ideas and experiences of developing mobility solutions of the future, and to reflect on how the Smart Mobility Challenge is run in different institutions across Europe. This event has kick started important new collaborations in Design and Enterprise for SDCA with our new European colleagues.

Read more about Ford Fund, the philanthropic arm of Ford Motor Company.