Students understand technology. Many consumers do not. Introduce one to t’other, and you’ve got Student@Home.Based in London, the firm takes talented IT students from the top computer science courses in London and sets them to work with customers to fix a variety of technology issues or to work on a one-to-one basis to teach people IT skills. In its own way, it’s another example of “collaborative consumption” (what’s mine is yours – at a price) that’s a strong theme in this year’s Wonga Future 50. London has the highest unemployment rate in the country. Kelly Klein, founder of Student@Home, has ambitious plans to create hundreds of jobs for students. Working in partnership with local universities, Student@Home now employs around 50 students across London to support customers with a range of technology needs. With an initial soft launch in west London, it is now rolling out to the whole of London. After that… There’s another important angle to Student@Home, which is around tackling the digital divide. Statistics show that one in four adults have never used the internet, and that more than 39 per cent of people over the age of 65 living in the UK are without access to the internet. Technology can be daunting, in particular to those who have never accessed it before. Student@Home solves this problem by offering friendly one-to-one training to people in the security of their own home. If commercial success was just about matching social needs with available demand, Student@home would be a shoo-in success. Can it match a compelling vision with real execution? We shall be watching.
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