John Bird, co-founder of the magazine sold by homeless vendors, told first-round winners of the Young Innovators Challenge in Edinburgh that they could identify opportunities and ideas which made a real difference to people's lives.
Setting up the Big Issue 20 years ago was never a money-spinning idea, he said. "We knew at the time that we could not solve homelessness but aimed to develop a product which would empower homeless people to take control of their own lives. That, to me, is the critical aspect of social innovation."
The 150 finalists in the competition, open to students and people in modern apprenticeship programmes, will now refine their entries ahead of a winners' showcase in August.