Best Ideas 2019 features all the nominated entries submitted under ‘Submit your Idea’ category. All the entries consist of innovative solutions or propositions for an enterprise that champions the Sustainable Development Goals. They can be on the conceptual, planning, or start-up stage.
Bizaar: an eco-friendly second-hand textbook marketplace by and for destitute students
Explain your idea in details:
Our main objective is to help the poorest members of society get textbooks at cheaper prices. We also want to relieve the environment. My idea works in 2 ways. Firstly, 'Bizaar: Marketplace' will be a marketplace which will allow buyers/sellers to create an account and post/sell listings, respectively. This marketplace will be specifically for textbooks. If a student is looking for a textbook, they will be able to login into their accounts and a list of textbooks listed will be presented to them (please refer to screenshot 2). Submitting a textbooks listing will also be very easy for sellers (please refer to screenshot 3). Sellers are able to gain financially by selling textbooks which they don't need and buyers are able to benefit from cheaper, second-hand textbooks. Our marketplace will work on a location-based system so the search results shows the textbooks which are closest to them. If the students find a textbook that they want to purchase, they are able to message the seller using a messaging system to discuss further. Finally, there will be Bizaar Swap. Users will sign up and list the books that they have and the books that they need. Once there is a double coincidence of wants, users will be notified of the match, so that a swap can ensue. This will be especially useful for university students, as they often reside in close proximity and have overlapping courses. Bizaar: Marketplace will be the first marketplace of its kind in NZ (purely for textbooks) and Bizaar: Swap will be the first of its kind (purely for university students). The fact that we don't charge commission fees gives us a competitive advantage. Only students will be able to sell books on Bizaar. This will shield students from professional competition (which is common among other platforms).
Expected impact of your idea on sustainable development
The student community, especially in my region, suffers from a lack of affordable educational resources. Through market research, I have found that the local university students surveyed paid over 200 dollars for their textbooks per course. Similarly, over 78 percent of the high school students surveyed paid over 120 dollars for their subject textbooks per year. The reason why this happens is as follows. The courses often require specific textbooks. The compulsory textbooks are often purchased from retail bookstores, which charge exorbitant prices for new editions. Students therefore suffer financially due to the absence of a dedicated online marketplace where secondhand textbooks could be bought and sold. Those who, like me, try hard to find cheap books online waste countless hours toward that end. We often contact people on Facebook, only to be made informed days later that the book has been sold. Poor students therefore lose time and money. This problem needs solving because it provides disadvantaged students the ability access educational resources and, hence, levels the educational playing field. Our proposed marketplace solves this and achieves both quality education and reduced inequalities. Additionally, by reusing textbooks instead of purchasing new ones, we are actively reducing carbon footprints. Our target is to become the largest textbook marketplace for high school and university students. We will evaluate our success by considering the number of transactions that take place on our website, the number of views and the number of registered accounts. We are striving to get 100k views within the first 6 months of the site/app being live.
Plans for implementation and sustainability
Bizaar: Marketplace will be free to use and we will not be charging any listing fees. We will also NOT take a compensation free from the listings. We WILL allow users to purchase a $2 premium add-on which will promote their listing on our home-page (on both the website and the app); however, this is not necessary to use the platform. We will also run ads. 'Bizaar: Swap' will be a cheap subscription based service (free 15 day trial followed by $5 per year), allowing users in the community being able to swap books with each other. Obviously, beta testing is required to ensure that the amount we are charging is able to maximize the number of users while also allowing us to continue running the platform. The financing source will primarily come from capital investment from myself. Our project is sustainable because the variable costs in running this platform are extremely low. The only main recurring cost is the domain and hosting cost but this is not expensive at all. The $5 gained from Bizaar: Swap and any advertisement revenue will purely be used to pay this off. Hence, it is clear that costs will not inhibit the platform's sustainability. Here are some steps that I have completed to make the prototype: 1) Market research at my local high school and university to see whether I was on the right track 2) Planning the wire-frame for the platform 3) Self-taught myself how to build a peer-to-peer marketplace 4) Applied this knowledge and, after almost a month of trial and error, made a prototype website. Plans for the future include: 1) testing and promoting the prototype on/to young students and 2) Create a book swapping feature - I already possess the programming/WordPress skills to do this.
My love of economics is only matched by my passion for socio-entrepreneurship. Indeed, I thought of Bizaar shortly after winning a silver medal at the International Economics Olympiad (Moscow, 2018). I was 16 at the time. I am now 17 and have gained more entrepreneurship experience, namely via the Young Enterprise Scheme. I was born in Mauritius and I have lived in some of the most destitute areas of New Zealand. Hence, I know the struggles that some people have to go through. I am eager to create innovative businesses that will benefit those who suffer from any kind of disadvantage, I currently run a range of startups including: Balancr, which is an online money-management platform for individuals and small businesses (not yet launched) and Commah, a student-run entrepreneurship society. I speak several languages, including French, and love debating and playing the guitar, having won regional awards in those two fields. I have seen first-hand the impact that poverty can have on young people, which is why I have helped raise thousands of dollars for St Vincent de Paul, a charity.