Innovation & Enterprise


Entrepreneurial UCL students win global Schmidt Futures competition

9 February 2021

Three UCL students were among 20 winners of a prestigious Schmidt Futures competition. Their innovative solutions to tackling global challenges were chosen from hundreds of submissions.

Glenda Xu, Lia Bote and Yvette Homerlein

Reimagine Challenge

Twenty winners were selected by the philanthropic initiative as part of its Reimagine Challenge 2020 competition. 

The Reimagine Challenge is part of a broader $1 billion commitment by Schmidt Futures co-founders Eric and Wendy Schmidt to identify and support global talent. 

The competition called on college and university students around the world to submit ideas that would help build back from COVID-19 and spark global movements for change.

Each winner receives up to $25,000 (more than £18,000) in tuition scholarships, with additional prizes donated to UCL per winning entry.

Three UCL winners

The three winning UCL students were:

  • Glenda Xu, an undergraduate on the Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) programme at the UCL Medical School. Glenda proposed creating InspireSeed, a web platform to help foreign domestic workers in Hong Kong through personal development opportunities. InspireSeed would also offer certified training to their employers.
  • Yvette Homerlein, a first-year Arts and Sciences undergraduate at UCL Arts & Humanities, who proposed creating Check-mate. Check-mate is a Chrome extension and smartphone app designed to battle misinformation online by identifying the owners of news sources through a colour coding system.
  • Lia Bote, a second-year Biological Sciences student at UCL’s Division of Biosciences. She specialises in cell biology and is passionate about solving problems at the intersection between science and society. Lia’s idea is a two-part project to improve primary care access in the Philippines through telehealth services. 

Entrepreneurial support for UCL students

UCL Innovation & Enterprise supports UCL students to realise their entrepreneurial ideas. Experts are available to help students develop skills, test ideas and access funding. The team can also help students apply for entrepreneurship and startups competitions, like the Reimagine Challenge.

Jerry Allen, Director for Entrepreneurship at UCL Innovation & Enterprise, said: “We’re keen to hear from any UCL students who have entrepreneurial ideas they would like to progress. With BaseKX, UCL's entrepreneurship hub in King's Cross, we’re able to offer support to help you develop your entrepreneurial skills and mindset.

“We’re living in an ever-changing world and during the pandemic we’re seeing a surge in stand-out innovative thinking. I’d say to any UCL student out there who has an entrepreneurial idea, that your insights and skills are more important now than ever.  

“So, if you want to kick-start your dream career, create your own business or have a solution to a societal challenge that could make a difference to the world, get in touch.” 

For enquiries about entrepreneurship at UCL (including BaseKX, training events and startup funding) please email entrepreneurship@ucl.ac.uk


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Photos of Glenda Xu, Lia Bote and Yvette Homerlein, supplied by Schmidt Futures