~ Blog written by Giulia Neuhaus, Co-Chair and Programme Lead (Leeds CEC) ~
School of Earth and Environment Student
With constant publications and news around climate change, our generation in particular is very much aware of the threats and dangers of global warming. With so many issues to address, it leaves many feeling overwhelmed and powerless.
What can we do? Is our only option to wait for politicians to act towards the systemic change needed to tackle the problem?
Waiting certainly has not proved to be an effective solution and it has become more important than ever to take matters in our own hands.
In December 2019, the Climate Entrepreneurs Club (CEC) was established by twelve motivated students and staff members from the University of Leeds, who shared one passion: tackling climate change with entrepreneurial ideas.
Our vision: A zero-carbon, circular and positive economy that respects planetary boundaries and ensures the well-being of all people.
Our mission: Provide a platform for cooperation across the University of Leeds and beyond to support ideas that enable sustainable changes in the way we live and do business.
We aim to assist young entrepreneurs in turning ideas into actionable projects that create a real-world impact and provide a network to develop their ideas.
At our first event in March, participants were confronted with contemporary environmental challenges and encouraged to develop tangible solutions through divergent and convergent thinking techniques. The committee guided the young entrepreneurs through the whole process and spurred their enthusiasm to start working on their own ideas.
Despite COVID-19 making it impossible to meet face-to-face, the CEC organized biweekly online sessions for team building and idea development. Two entrepreneurial ideas started to take shape:
Bike-sharing App for Leeds: As there is currently no opportunity to rent a bike in the city, this idea aims to address this market gap.
Waste Management and Waste Education Programme: The team is working to implement second-hand exchange facilities for students as well as workshops for new students to educate them on recycling opportunities and system in Leeds.
The CEC supported the groups in the development of their business plans and finding opportunities to present their ideas to interest groups, sponsors, the city council or attendees of sustainability events in Leeds.
This month, the CEC won the Innovation Award in the University of Leeds Sustainability Awards for our “commitment to making real-world impact by collaborating to find innovative business solutions to climate change”. We are proud of this achievement and thank our participants for the energy they brought into the sessions.
We are excited to welcome new ideas in the new academic year; the CEC Leeds will start running events again in October!
Interested in working with us next academic year? Get in Touch!