Date of release: Tuesday, June 3, 2014

An innovative idea for a floating farm on the Thames has won three students from the University of Greenwich a place on the shortlist for the Mayor of London’s Low Carbon Entrepreneur of 2014.

The Greenwich trio pitched their green business idea in "Dragons' Den" style in front of a live audience at City Hall last week. Judges included two "Dragons" from the BBC-2 television show: Deborah Meaden and Innocent Drinks founder Richard Reed. The winners of the competition, who will scoop a £20,000 prize to help take their idea to market, will be announced by the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, at an awards ceremony at the Siemens Crystal on Wednesday 4 June.

The Greenwich proposal, London’s Food Farm, presented a vision for a floating farm on the Thames, using state of the art hydroponic technology to grow fresh fruit and vegetables on a recycled barge, right in the heart of London.

The students' idea was selected from hundreds submitted and the Greenwich trio, Andrew Ndungu, Aleksandra Gajda, and Arturas Niemcinskas are now competing against nine other teams, including the London School of Economics, Imperial College London and the Royal College of Art.

Congratulations also went to Nithya Prabhavathi Gopalakrishnan an MBA student at the University of Greenwich who also works as Employability Officer in its Business School. She was named as Best Ambassador for the competition.

Boris Johnson said: "With such a fantastic array of innovative and wonderful ideas concocted by our young entrepreneurs, some very tough decisions will need to be made and I don't envy our judges in this difficult task. It is students like these that will go on to help foster jobs and growth in the capital’s green economy for years to come."

Deborah Meaden said: “It’s always fantastic to see such creativity and entrepreneurial drive from London’s students. We’ve seen some brilliant ideas come out of this competition and this year will be even better.”

Deborah Sims, Senior Lecturer in the university’s Faculty of Engineering & Science, commented: “I am so proud of our fantastic students. Their idea could ‘green’ the river, provide organic healthy produce to local residents and restaurants, and provide a focus for tourists and visitors interested in finding out more about London’s agricultural potential.

"The judges loved the scope to expand the idea to a number of sites creating a sustainable and flexible resource for growing food."

The University of Greenwich is a leader in sustainability in higher education. It has topped the People & Planet green league table and is the current winner of the Times Higher Education Award for Outstanding Contribution to Sustainable Development.

To find out more about studying a degree encompassing sustainability and environmental issues at the University of Greenwich: http://www.gre.ac.uk/centre-for-sustainability/degrees

The Low Carbon Prize is sponsored by Siemens and the support of the London Universities Environment Group (LUEG). ‪

Story by Public Relations