Global Entrepreneurship Week inspires student businesses
Global Entrepreneurship Week is the world’s largest celebration of the innovators and job creators who launch startups that bring ideas to life, drive economic growth and expand human welfare.
During one week each November, GEW inspires people everywhere through local, national and global activities designed to help them explore their potential as self-starters and innovators.
As part of GEW the Foundation launched a challenge for all Aldridge schools to “explore new ways to live healthily in school and in your local community.”
Teams of students were asked to identify challenges and issues around healthy living and design a product, service or campaign to address these in their school or local community. In drop-down days and after-school clubs students developed their ideas and planned how to present their concepts – either through video pitch, mood board, presentation or any other means they think is suitable to convey their idea.
At the end of the competition, each formed a panel to judge their local entries and submitted their top 3 entries to the Foundation and our panel of entrepreneurial judges: Paddy Willis, CEO and co-founder of Mission Ventures, Tom Mercer, the Founder of MOMA Foods, and Philip Udeh, the founder of healthy energy drink company, BrainFüd. The panel selected a winning team and two runners up from the students’ work across the country.
The judges were impressed by the high standard of presentations they saw, and after much deliberation and a re-check of the very close scorecards, awarded first prize to Portslade Aldridge Community Academy Year 9 students Isaac, Joseph and River. Their team, HydraGo, tackled the issue of climate change and reducing carbon emissions, seeing this as the biggest health issue facing us all.
Their plan involved reducing household and organisations’ emissions by creating energy from waste water, using dynamos to generate power from waste water flows. The team looked at idea that would realistically supplement renewable energy sources already available for homes and workplaces, rather than looking a complete alternative schemes.
They produced detailed and practical plans on the siting of dynamos in waste water pipes in the home, and also looked at other uses for the dynamos. These included incorporating them into exercise equipment
Isaac, Joseph and River stressed the benefits of the potential income generation from the scheme, particularly the potential impact on family health for households on low incomes. They costed their dynamo product at £415, including installation, and proposed a retail price of £1,500. To offset the cost their plan included an approach to the Energy Savings Trust to see if the product could attract a grant.
The judges’ commented on the proposal that it was a “Clever idea, well thought through, demonstrating good research and academic knowledge. Multiple visual aids assisted the audience to understand the science, and consideration was given to the economic model and the potential for funding.” Judge Paddy Willis concluded: “A proper business opportunity.”
Tom Mercer praised the team for “A fantastic presentation – great knowledge of the problem, detailed explanation of the solution, and even financial proposal of the cost of installing this. Great teamwork, and a confidently delivered pitch. This was a very ambitious idea which scored it more highly. I was extremely impressed.
Second place in the competition went to Brighton Aldridge Community Academy’s DDAA team – Demolish Depression and Abolish Anxiety. BACA students Molly, Gina and Michaela’s plan centred around mental health issues. Third place went to a second team from PACA. Year 7 students Jasmine, Archis, Erin and Alfie formed the Travelling Breakfast Club, tackling loneliness amongst the over 60s.
Prizes will be awarded to all three team in January. The winning teams (1st, 2nd and 3rd place) will have the opportunity to visit Sustainable Ventures, a company based in London, who operate venture funds and run Europe’s latest shared workspace for innovative young companies that are looking to change the world through sustainable enterprise. Businesses range from ideas as diverse as green energy solutions to compostable coffee pods and eco-friendly cleaning products. During the visit students will have the opportunity to meet and hear from a the Sustainable Ventures team as well as a range of founders who are running businesses within the workspace, several of whom will join the teams for lunch.
The prize trip will be hosted by one of the GEW judges, Paddy Willis, who as well as Grocery Accelerator, has for five years ran and scaled a social enterprise that helped start-ups with mentoring and low cost office space in the City of London.