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As nominations flow in for the 2013 Everline Future 50, we revisit a 2012 alumnus that’s had a significant year.

What a year 2013 has been for Student@Home. Back in November 2012, we were just starting out on our path to tackle the digital divide. That was our vision when we were selected to feature on Real Business’s Future 50 list (now the Everline Future 50) of disruptive early-stage UK businesses. Today we’re seeing that vision turn into something.
 
It’s a unique business model to the UK – providing expert help from an IT student in the comfort of your own home – so it was always going to be a challenge. But the business is going from strength to strength.
 
With 60 student IT technicians under our wing and partnerships with eight London universities in place (double what we had last year), we’re tackling head-on the worrying unemployment rate among computer graduates (which is the highest among any graduate group).

Is it working? We recently did a monitoring evaluation that showed 70 per cent of our students feel that this is their first meaningful work experience and, even more notably, their confidence levels have improved.
 
Students aren’t the only people we’re helping. Did you know that one in four adults have never used the internet? And that more than a third of people over the age of 65 living in the UK don’t have access to the internet? We set out to change that.
 
Last year we had just one contract with a housing association; now we have five. Of the 8.7 million UK adults who live in homes provided by housing associations, 4.1 million of them aren’t online, says Digital by Default 2012. Working with these housing associations and the local communities, we’re doing more work on digital inclusion on our mission to help improve IT skills and get older people to remain independent at home.
 
For those aged over 65, there are one million people who classify themselves as lonely, and a staggering 3.1 million who don’t see a family, friend or neighbour in a week. Computers can really help improve someone’s life for the better and 81 per cent said computer literacy made them feel part of modern society (Digital by Default 2012).
 
Since featuring in the Future 50 list in 2012, we’ve received lottery funding through a programme called the Big Venture Challenge and have secured over £750,000 investment to date.
 
Next year is shaping up to be even better. We’ve got new products and services in the pipeline, including a community app and a robot to help kids to code. This year saw the official London launch of Student@Home. Early next year, we’re looking to expand into Birmingham, Sussex and beyond – so watch this space!

Kelly Klein is founder and CEO of Student@Home, featured in the 2012 Real Business Future 50.

The Real Business/Everline Future 50 identifies and showcases the UK’s 50 most exciting, disruptive early-stage businesses.

Are you one? Do you know one? Make your nomination here and give these vital entrepreneurial businesses the supercharge they deserve.

  • Follow us on Twitter @real_business and #everlinefuture50 #everlinedisrupters
  • Nomination deadline: Monday January 6, 2014. 
  • Email matthew@realbusiness.co.uk if you have any questions

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