AN Oxford Brookes graduate has won £1,000 funding to launch his reusable coffee cup hire company.

OneCup, which will officially be launched next week, provides coffee shops with reusable cups for customers to borrow.

It ‘aims to reverse the habit of single-use disposable food or drink containers by replacing them with quality reusables’.

OneCup founder and director Harrison Hall, 27, convinced judges at Venturefest Oxford on Tuesday that his project was worth the investment.

Describing itself as ‘the county’s premier networking event for entrepreneurs, innovators and investors’, Venturefest’s Pitching for Success competition ‘offers young businesses the chance to pitch for funding, mentoring or even skills’.

Mr Hall explained: “The money is fantastic but the main part for us is the feeling of support from the university and people seeing that we have come up with a solution to a really big problem.”

Eight cafes at Brookes will initially be partnered with the company, which charges members a £1.99 monthly subscription, but points out that most major coffee shops offer a 25p – 50p discount for using your own cup.

Last month, campaigners kicked off a drive to make Oxfordshire the first county to go single-use coffee cup free, amid a natioal purge on plastic waste.

That was one of a number of recent local anti-plastic initiatives, including various other reusable cups being launched.

OneCup revolves partly around an app, developed by Mr Hall’s business partner Jamie Simms, which allows members to see which coffee shops are part of the scheme.

The company provides participating cafes with specially-designed reusable cups for free and advertises their locations.

When members borrow and return a cup, they scan a QR code at the till or use a ‘smart collector’ – but cannot take out another cup until returning the first.

Once cups are returned, cafés will either wash the cups in-house or OneCup staff will collect, wash and return them.

Ahead of an official launch at Brookes next Friday, Mr Hall, who graduated in June with a degree in construction management, continued: “In my last year they did Oxford Brookes ‘enterprise support awards’.

"I joined the enterprise team and did a Dragons' Den style pitch and gave me £500 [to trial] it for two weeks over the summer.

“We are aiming to get 1,000 members at Brookes and will then be looking for seed funding, to contact the Oxfordshire councils and then the big coffee companies.”

He also stressed that the company – which is also in the final round of a £5,000 grant competition run by Shell Livewire – would ‘love’ to get small, independent cafes involved.

Interested companies are asked to email