FIVE Brighton students pitched their business ideas to a group of experts as part of the Barclays Local Genius Competition.

The competition aims to encourage budding entrepreneurs to design tech ideas that could make a difference to the local community.

A total of 70 students initially entered and their ideas went to a public vote where the entries were reduced down to five finalists.

The finalists, all from the University of Brighton, then pitched their business idea to a panel consisting of Barclays managers, local businesses and entrepreneurs at the Barclays Eagle Lab in Preston Road.

To qualify, entries needed to be original, have a grounding in technology, contribute to the wellbeing of the local community, be realistic and achievable with readily available tech.

The competition took place in five places - Manchester, Birmingham, Cambridge, Bournemouth and Brighton, with the winning entry in each area going forward to a national final at the Barclays headquarters building in London.

The national winner will receive mentoring from subject matter experts from across Barclays to help them get their idea off the ground.

The winning idea in Brighton was called Square It and is the brainchild of James Norton and Rachid Allal.

The initiative is a free app that will be used to help automatically split bills equally between shared housemates.

The aim is to keep bill splitting fair and drastically reduce the amount of transactions needed within a shared house.

The app allows each housemate to be directly responsible for their share of the bills, keeping everyone ‘square’.

Luca Forte, manager of the Brighton Eagle Lab and one of the judging panel, said: “I was genuinely impressed with the range of ideas and the ability of the students to pitch to the judging panel.

“I look forward to seeing the finalists further developing their ideas and wish Rachid and James every success.”