Success story 3: The Coffee house challenge- bringing together people to share ideas
Key words: coffee house challenge, business, entrepreneur, Ford, GlaxosmithKline GSK, Elder, student presentations
All the hard work put in by students, teachers’ and partners for the Green Entrepreneurs Europe project was brought together during the ‘Coffee House Challenge’. There events are designed to bring together different people to talk about issues- traditionally in a coffee shop, but it works at other venues too. The focus is on talking about problems and thinking of ideas and solutions.
This is exactly what happened during our event. Students who had participated in the GEE project were treated to presentations from invited guests from the industry (see videos below). Pete Dowds from Elder, spoke inspiringly about the life a young entrepreneur, including some highs and some definite lows! He has set up 3 businesses in his time (2 very successful) and gave the students some great tips for starting their own business. See his presentation below.
Martin Tomkins who is Manufacturing and engineering manger at Ford, detailed the many steps the plant in Dagenham and the company in general is taking to make their operations sustainable. He highlighted some of the awards that the company have won in this areas. Martin also talked to the students about the apprentice scheme and how they could work for Ford. Accompanying Martin were two current apprentices; Melanie Morey and Adam Leonard (see video below).
Luke Hedger (Sustainability manager) and Pamela Stathaki (Sustainability analyst) from GlaxoSmithKline, spoke about how the company is embracing the idea of the circular economy in their inhalers. Like Martin and Pete, they outlined their careers, highlighting to students ways of working in the more sustainable part of industry (see video below).
This was followed by the students presenting their business ideas. Students outlined their concept, design, spoke about target audience, advertising, pricing and most impertinently how the product fits into the idea of the circular economy. All their work on identifying environmental issues, learning how nature does things, researching other green businesses and learning about the process of business planning came together in their final presentations.
After the presentations, guests gave each of the groups feedback on their ideas- what they liked about them, and also something to think about. Afterwards students and teachers had the opportunity to speak to guests informally and ask them any questions. If was wonderful to see students and experienced business people coming together and sharing ideas.