’In school we learn a lot about theory but here we’ve learnt how to really create an enterprise”; “It’s been great to be here … it’s been amazing”; “HP people have been really helpful. They’re technology experts and it’s been really beneficial to talk with them and learn from them”… just a small selection of comments from students who took part in the first-ever Junior Achievement-Young Enterprise (JA-YE) European Social Innovation Camp which took place in Brussels, 25 and 26 May.’
Supported by HP volunteers, over 60 secondary school students from across Europe spent 24 hours brainstorming ideas and developing their action plans to come up with a proposal for a social enterprise that could address a societal challenge. At the end of the event, the mixed-nationality teams presented their business ideas to a panel made up of representatives from HP, the European Commission, Reallmpact Management Consultants and CSR Europe.
Overall standards were very high and solutions included a scheme to reward recycling, activities to educate children and parents about the problem of obesity and an idea for using new technology to dispose of garbage in an environmentally-sound way. The judges were extremely impressed by all of the students’ ideas but after much deliberation the winning team was chosen because of its innovative, comprehensive and well thought-out concept for tackling several social issues at once: food supply, supply chain issues and healthy nutrition.
The team, made up of five students from Spain, Norway, Belgium, Romania and Bulgaria, developed the concept of an automated agricultural system called ‘ATARO’ – a self-contained box that includes earth, vegetable seeds, nutrients and a complex system of electronic sensors to monitor growth and minimise the need for human intervention. ‘ATARO’ boxes are designed to be integrated into new and existing building design so food crops can be grown right next to the people who will consume them – significantly reducing transport costs and environmental impact. Daan Pape, a student from Belgium and a member of the winning team said, ‘this was a wonderful experience: to work in an international team, learn about different cultures and release our creativity”.
Students from 14 countries around Europe (Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Greece, Italy, Norway, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Slovakia, Spain and Turkey) took part in this European final. The students, aged 15-18, were chosen after winning their National Innovation and Creativity Challenges run by the JA-YE organization.
For the European final, our HP Social Innovation team set the ‘real life’ business challenge for the students with JA-YE Europe, and Jeannette Weisschuh, Director Education Initiatives, HP Office of Global Social Innovation, chaired the judging panel. In addition, six volunteer advisers from HP Belgium and HP Germany took time out of their busy work schedules to support and guide the students as they put their plans together.
“All of the students have worked really hard to come up with some fantastic solutions to the problem they were set”, said Jeannette, “Being here with them has shown me firsthand how important it is for us to continue to invest in our young people everywhere, to give them real opportunities to show what they can do, to encourage creative thinking and to show them how innovation can open up a whole new world of possibilities”.
HP volunteer adviser, Kris Schoemans, Enterprise Storage Product Manager, HP Belgium said, “Clearing a day in my agenda was always going to be a challenge. But, it’s been well worth it! What I’ve learnt from these young students in terms of creativity and enthusiasm has been more than worth the investment in time. The ideas they came up with were very mature, well thought through and absolutely workable. And the way they articulated their chosen solutions shows that innovation is part of their DNA. It’s been an amazing journey!”
HP’s global partnership with JA-YE is part of our new social innovation approach, to foster innovation and inspire young people to improve their world. With the skilled support of our people, matched by HP technology and funding, HP aims to open up the world of business and the opportunities that technology can bring, to inspire students to think afresh and apply their learning to building a better future.