Sustainable shelter charity wins global enterprise challenge supported by Durham University

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Nostos Homes, a company which provides sustainable emergency shelters for people in crisis, has been awarded £100,000 worth of university research and business support, after winning the ‘just IMAGINE if…’ social enterprise competition hosted in Durham this month. 

Nostos Homes beat out nine other finalists from across the globe after pitching their ideas to a panel of expert business leaders at the competition final held at the University. The finalists were supported through workshops, and were given expert advice from a councillor and a group of social enterprise and entrepreneurial leaders, to prepare for their final pitches. 

The competition was run by “just IMAGINE if…” which aims to promote initiatives that drive social, economic, and environmental change inline with the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Founded by Ella’s Kitchen entrepreneur Paul Lindey OBE, it aims to help small ideas become reality in dealing with global issues. The final was originally meant to take place in March 2020, but was delayed by nearly two years due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The event is hosted and supported by Durham University.

“At a time where there are so many displaced people in this world, I’m delighted that Nostos Homes was our winner”

paul lindey

Founded in 2019, Nostos Homes aims to help people who are displaced due to natural disasters or violence, by providing sustainable emergency shelters. The shelters are made from modular, locally procurable, and recyclable materials, and can be assembled in under six hours by six people without the need for specialist tools or training, making them ideal for usage in crisis zones.

Inspired by founder Kaushal Shetty’s experiences of witnessing people displaced by annual flooding in India, the company has already provided 32,000 people with emergency shelters. This has allowed 1,500 days of education to be facilitated, and 3,000 days of people being able to continue to work throughout the disasters.

Commenting on Nostos Homes’s victory, Paul Lindey OBE said “I’m extremely proud of all our finalists for being imaginative enough to conceive of their ideas, brave enough to follow through with them, and confident enough to enter “just IMAGINE if…” competition.

“At a time where there are so many displaced people in this world, I’m delighted that Nostos Homes was our winner. Shreya was deeply impressive in articulating their vision, inspiring in sharing their innovation, and humbling in showing what passionate, smart, and caring young people can create. I’m confident that this prize will help”.

Professor Claire O’Malley, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Global) at the University echoed this message: “As an international university with staff and students from around the world we are committed to supporting the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals to help tackle the challenges faced by our planet.

“The quality of entrants in this year’s competition was incredibly high, and they all delivered inspiring presentations. We are looking forward to supporting Kaushal and Shreya to continue to develop their idea”.

Image: Durham University

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