We’re starting a food sharing revolution.

OLIO is a free app that connects neighbours with each other and with local shops so that surplus food can be shared, not unnecessarily thrown away. This could include food nearing its use-by date from shops, cafes and markets; spare vegetables from the allotment; cakes from an amateur baker; or groceries from household fridges when people go away, move home or start a diet.

Access to food should be a basic human right, and producing food shouldn’t destroy the planet. I’m the daughter of a farmer, so I know how much hard work goes into producing food, yet between 33-50% of all food produced globally is never eaten. Food waste is catastrophic for the environment – if food waste were a country it would be the third largest emitter of greenhouse gases.

The future is about transitioning from an “ownership-based” economy, where people own all their possessions and don’t use them most of the time - to a real “sharing economy”, where there is a flow of resources between people, and our resource utilisation is closer to 100%. OLIO is harnessing the power of mobile technology to re-connect local communities, so that our most precious resources can be shared, not thrown away.

OLIO needs funding because…

We have a mind-blowingly scalable solution to one of the biggest problems facing mankind. We would use additional funding to expand our “Food Waste Heroes” programme - where we match our volunteers with local shops, cafes & supermarkets so they can collect unsold food at the end of the day and redistribute it to their local community via the app - and kickstart OLIO in specific geographies. This is a proven model for us, we just lack the resources to expand it to new cities. If each and every one of us uses OLIO to do our bit, then together we can stop food waste and create a world where no one goes hungry.

If you are thinking about launching a social enterprise...

Make sure it’s a real problem you’re trying to solve as this ensures the market is there and it’s big enough. Be clear on why it’s your problem to solve because this ensures you have the passion and resilience that’s absolutely essential for any startup. Additionally, focus on pleasing the first 100 customers because this ensures that you’re obsessed with the user and building a product that will delight the market. And finally, surround yourself with a great team - and have fun!