It’s capitalism, kids, but not quite as we know it.
Last night, halfway up London’s tallest building, a group of bright young students from King’s College London showcased a socially conscious business idea that is helping to transform lives in Tanzania. They are the UK’s entry in the Enactus World Cup 2017, held at the Excel Centre, London in September.
There, they will join the brightest and the best students from around the world, representing each of the 36 countries in which the Enactus programme currently operates. More than 72,000 students are currently part of the scheme.
It’s about minds for business and hearts for the world
The idea is simple. What if the entrepreneurs, business boffins and leaders of tomorrow were to get an early education, from academics and business leaders, in the ways of sustainable social enterprise and ethical entrepreneurship?
The plan is for students to join forces and embark on projects, both locally and globally in universities around the world. The goal is to reduce inequality and waste and create positive change that is truly sustainable.
Well done to @EnactusKCL on their presentation at the World Cup Showcase yesterday! Thank you to @JellyfishAgency for hosting a great event! pic.twitter.com/4WqHInvRf3
— Enactus UK (@EnactusUK) August 17, 2017
Andrew Houghton, an Enactus graduate-turned-employee, says “it’s about minds for business and hearts for the world”.
In the room watching the students describe their Light Mountain Project were representatives from Coca Cola, Amazon, KPMG, British Airways, Tesco, Diageo, Accenture and many more.
You can see how much business can benefit the world
Law student Yvonne Teng and Classics student Jenny Wong talked to The Big Issue about why they joined Enactus.
“It’s like a community of people on the same page, working towards social change,” says Teng. “The concept of charity and business coming together – and the Big Issue is a huge example – is really important. You can see how much business can benefit the world.”
“Our biggest project is Light Mountain,” adds Wong. “We are helping produce cleaner cooking solutions in Tanzania. We are helping people use their skills to make a sustainable business.
“It began with solar cooking stoves in the Philippines and the idea just grew.”
DID YOU KNOW…
The Big Issue has inspired the launch of 120 street papers globally, including sister titles in Australia, South Africa, Japan, Taiwan and Korea.
Not only do the new stoves they helped develop alongside academics and engineers produce less toxic fumes – helping to combat high levels of respiratory illness – but the fuel they use is more environmentally friendly, leading to less deforestation.
Cheaper to run and manufacture than previous models, they are affordable for the local community, produced from locally sourced materials, and are now distributed and sold by local women, whose increased income has lifted their families out of poverty.
Other recent Enactus projects include working on youth employability programmes in Glasgow and London and candle-making and selling workshops for homeless people in Liverpool.
And the upcoming World Cup? Imagine Dragon’s Den meets Tomorrow’s World, with a social conscience – entrepreneurship and innovation directed towards positive social change – and you get the picture.
As one of the business leaders commented: “If young people were in charge of the business world, we might just be in a better position…”