School team wins Blind bit of Difference competition

1797A London Business School team has won a competition to create employment opportunities for blind and partially-sighted people.

Jun-Woo Kim and Jihun Kim won the Blind Bit of Difference competition for their Sight to Vision idea, a global technology-based teaching service that would train someone with sight loss to teach conversational English to office workers and students via the internet.

Jun-Woo Kim and Jihun Kim said: “This business model has strong prospects, because it would deliver a top-notch learning experience at a reasonable price in an industry demonstrating exponential growth.”

The competition, organised in association with the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB), was open to students from London Business School and University College London. The winners will be awarded a prize from the Deloitte Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the re-launch of London Business School's Responsible Business Club today.

Philip Connolly, Employment Campaigns Officer for RNIB, said: "RNIB is really excited to be part of this venture and we're looking forward to working with the winners to ensure their proposal on paper becomes a reality.

"When the business is up and running a large number of blind and partially sighted people could be offered jobs and they will be providing real solutions to the business community and in turn contributing to the economy.

"Evidence shows that 66% of blind and partially sighted people of working age are not in employment, that Government schemes fail to place blind and partially sighted people in work and that training and employment opportunities for those furthest from the labour market are dwindling. Employers have also told us that they find people with a sight condition the most difficult to employ. This competition proves that the charity sector can be part of the solution."

Jun-Woo and Jihun, who are both studying for a Masters in Finance, added that their Sight to Vision idea would benefit people with partial or full sight loss because instructors would be able to teach without leaving their home, while enjoying a flexible full or part-time work schedule.

The size of the digital English learning products and services market is huge. Jun-Woo and Jihun estimate that up to 20,000 people could be hired in South Korea alone and up to 150,000 globally. More than 2,320 could be hired as part of Sight to Vision with an expected annual income (before tax) of above £32,000.