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Innovation Session with Enactus UK

Thursday 16th September


After a very successful Summer Action for Enactus NTU, winning funding for not just one of but both of our project submissions, Bright Greens and Take Care, we held our first in-person innovations session since the COVID-19 pandemic.

The session, held by Claire Donaldson - Enactus’s Senior Coordinator of Project Innovation and Impact – on the 16th of September, was a resounding success! The team that attended the session, (whose effort and ideas were rewarded with free pizza) has guided and supported in the shaping of our two main projects as well as identifying further demographics that we could create some meaningful impact for.

The day started by focussing on the key ingredients, processes and strategies that develop high quality and impactful social enterprises. We examined two case studies that demonstrated these qualities, whilst also looking at their weaknesses. The first case study was Jelly Drops, a tasty sweet that can provide hydration to those with dementia, who would otherwise forget to drink water. We learned that despite their small numbers, they had created a product that transformed the lives of those with dementia, by providing an easy and dignified way to stay hydrated. They were able to build a rapport with their beneficiaries as they had focussed on a niche target group and created an innovative idea that suited their beneficiaries' needs.

We then looked at the second-placed winners of the 2020 Enactus World Cup: Enactus Canada. They had managed to achieve massive numbers with their project, powdered, single-use, shampoos and conditioners that aimed at reducing plastic waste dumped into the ocean. They had great potential, with their product being in talks to be sold in thousands of stores across North America with some of the biggest shopping brands. However, Enactus Canada failed to demonstrate the true impact on their beneficiaries. Alongside reducing plastic waste, they had a beneficiary group of adults with additional needs, whom they provided the opportunity for employment and the ability to develop key employability skills. In their pitch, they left key questions unanswered about risk management, cost efficiency and quantification of impact.

With these case studies in mind, we used several brainstorming activities to help grow and shape our current projects to achieve a greater focus on our beneficiaries’ needs, providing a narrow but deep impact and develop our ideas to include risk management, cost efficiency and the ability to quantify the impact we create.

Focussing on Bright Greens, we have narrowed our beneficiary group to cover students excluded from mainstream education to deepen our project impact. The Project will be part of a vessel to motivate students uninclined to sit and learn in a typical classroom environment. We have identified Stone Soup Academy as the ideal starting point for this idea. We have identified two current Enactus projects that we can take inspiration from to help us develop this project.

The first, Heroes Haven by Enactus Cardiff Met, aims to create a positive learning environment for students excluded from mainstream education. The second, Stem to Stem by Enactus Middlesex, has a goal is to keep the local area around their beneficiary school from being affected by pollution by giving the students backpacks that measure air pollution on their walk home from school. If we can take the strengths of each project, we can create enhance our project to have the potential to create the deep impact we desire for these students at Stone Soup Academy.

Finally, we have identified our goal for Bright Greens this year. We will run a 4-week pilot for a small class to build one mini unit per student. This will help us demonstrate to other classes and schools the positive impact our project has on our students’ learning and their motivation to tackle climate change. It will also help us test our kits and iron out any potential problems to create a professional and easy to build and use kit that we hope to put in as many classrooms as possible.

With TakeCare, we have identified the direction we will be taking the project in. We will be offering digital storytelling, with characters that have a range of common SEN and ASD sensitivities. The students can then choose to talk freely about the situations that arise due to the sensitivities these characters have, that the students likely share. We will be using animation to do this, allowing these students to develop a fun technical skill whilst using these social stories to express their emotions and learn different perspectives of problematic situations.

We have also identified a new key partner that we hope will help us advance our project. Crocus fields, a team that provide respite for SEN children in Nottingham. We hope to support Crocus Fields where they may need it.

Finally, we have identified our goal for the year. By March 2022 we plan to have run a 6-week pilot programme for 5 families. This will help us iron out any issues we encounter setting up the programme and will allow us to have a steady platform to be able help as many families as we can!

In our project inspiration portion of the day, we gravitated towards a beneficiary group of rough sleepers. We discussed how one Homeless person costs the taxpayer £20,000, and the number of those homeless is rising. The COVID-19 Pandemic has been especially hard for the homeless population- it cannot be easy to isolate at home when there is no home to go to. This is where we need everyone in Enactus NTU to help us grow this from an idea to a project. We need a vehicle that can bring stability to rough sleepers’ lives to help them get back on their feet. We are a group of bright young individuals with loads of potential. We can make a real change for the better for some of these individuals. So please come forward with as many ideas as you can!

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