What unites all Weidenfeld-Hoffman Scholars? Each of us aspires to make a positive impact in the world, in our own unique way. Being able to do so in a manner that also generates profit is achallenge for us, but also a process which is shaping us into the entrepreneurs of the future. Starting the Enterprise Challenge with my WHT peers in October, I asked myself “Do you have ideas that’ll change the world?” and the answer came up straight away – Always!
Our team is made up of individuals from very different backgrounds. Francisco Obando (2019, Ecuador, International Health and Tropical Medicine, Oxford-Hoffmann) who is from Ecuador and studying International Health and Tropical Medicine, Antonio Beun (2019, Argentina, Master of Public Policy, Louis Dreyfus-Weidenfeld and Hoffmann), who previously worked in the Argentinian government, Jade Weiner (2019, South Africa, Bachelor of Civil Law, Weidenfeld-Hoffmann/Chevening) from South Africa and myself from Belarus, both law students. We’ve come together with our different interests and ideas, and have become a true team, with one passion – to make the world a better place.
Our project is a recycling initiative, aiming to assist governments to incentivise citizens to separate their waste in order to maximise recycling capacity.
Charmian Love, Chair and Co-Founder of B Lab UK, a movement that strives to use businessas a force for good, was at this particular tutorial, and challenged our idea.It was the first time we had pitched our idea to someone with an extensive entrepreneurial background, and we were quite nervous to hear the feedback. However, Jade had some very encouraging words to share with us after receiving our feedback.
“It was so insightful to get such practical and constructive input from Charmian Love –a true expert in the entrepreneurial space. It was immensely beneficial to discuss and bounce ideas off in a group context! I am very excited about our group’s idea.” It would be a lie to say that we came up with a great idea from the get go. Each time we meet as a team our idea continues to evolve and develop into something more tangible. Antonio’s opinion on the tutorial was,“[it] helped me to critically think through our project and gain perspective”. The tutorial with Charmian Love allowed us to present our idea to an audience and have them challenge it.
Francisco also had a few things to say, “I think the value of remaining flexible throughout the entire process and accepting alternative input that I had not considered was an important aspect of being able to “pivot” in the creative design process of a potential enterprise or social business. I think also contributing toward team cohesion through sharing food and caring about the team were important in creating an atmosphere where people were comfortable to challenge ideas and make recommendations. Finally, the pressure of time and a clear shared goal helped us to focus our discussion, increased our productivity and forced us to find a viable way forward.”
Indeed, all of us are increasingly excited about our project and even though we have a huge study workload, we will continue to contribute to the great things that lie ahead of us.