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What is the WHT Enterprise Challenge?

This exciting new element of the Leadership Programme challenges each Scholar to come up with an entrepreneurial idea tackling a pressing social need. Over the course of the year Scholars will work in groups to develop this idea into a proposed social enterprise. A select number of groups will pitch their ideas to an invited panel at the annual Leadership Forum in June.

The WHT Enterprise Challenge is an opportunity for Scholars to put their skills to work to make a positive change in the world. Combining mentoring and teamwork, the Challenge is designed to guide teams of Scholars through the early stages of developing an enterprising idea into effective action. Many WHT alumni go on to develop their own business or social enterprise. The Trust has therefore developed this element of the programme to provide and a grounding in the practical foundations of establishing a new enterprise would be of benefit to all Scholars. Sessions cover business models, creating a business plan, pitching skills and much more.

Teams are also supported throughout the process with an expert Business Adviser who will provide practical feedback and guidance to their team. This is a compulsory element of the Leadership Programme.

Enterprise Challenge Adviser Charmian Love with a Scholar group at the Leadership Forum

As part of the programme this year, students were challenged to develop a socially oriented business idea. It was impressive to see the variety of ideas and how passionate they were about improving the wellbeing of others less fortunate. The Scholars impressed me with their diversity of thought, drive and positive energy. I am already looking forward to next year’s Enterprise challenge!”

Alina Barnett, WHT Trustee and Adviser

Enterprise Challenge Teams 2018

To provide some understanding (and a bit of inspiration) of the types and diversity of our budding enterprises the teams which reached the final ‘pitch off’ at the Leadership Forum in June comprised:

  • Weeds to Pesticides – this team focused on developing the invasive weed Lantana camara into a viable, commercial, organic pesticide in Zimbabwe. Harvesting this weed will also alleviate its negative consequences for communities on the ground. The group are currently fundraising to support field trials.
  • Menstrual Revolution – a team of two aiming to change behaviour and mindsets around the taboo subject of menstruation in rural India. The team are still working on their project and aim to take it further.
  • Global Millennial Network – this multi-disciplinary group aspired to connect the millennial generation with policy-makers to effect real-world change.
  • Taxicle or the last mile‘ – focused on opportunities for sustainable delivery solutions in dense, urban centres. The project looked to employ a system of bicycles and drones for efficient and cost effective delivery in the last mile of transit.

Here’s a message from WHT alumni to the incoming cohort about the WHT Enterprise Challenge.

The best part of the Leadership Programme has been the community aspect. People are warm and friendly and it’s a genuine joy to get together with everyone and catch up every term. Throughout the year I was challenged to learn new skills like pitching a start up idea, public debating and interviewing on camera, but the supportive atmosphere of the WHT made it feel safe to get out of my comfort zone and try new things.

Undral Ganbaatar, Mongolia, MPP, Weidenfeld-Hoffmann/Chevening, 2018
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