A new scheme to develop entrepreneurial skills and sustainability solutions.
Climate Change is an existential threat well recognised across the University of Sheffield. Students and faculty have researched, educated, and advocated for sustainability and carbon neutrality and continue to do so. However, this is not enough. The private sector is responsible for significant amounts of pollution in the world and advocacy can only push their agendas so far. Moreover, not every person who cares about sustainability and the environment is passionate about advocacy. So, what else can people at the University of Sheffield do to actively create a sustainable, carbon-neutral world? One answer: entrepreneurship.
Innovation has continued to be one of the most dominant, industry-altering forces in the economy. Automation has transformed the manufacturing sector, online shopping has smashed brick and mortar stores, and smartphones have revolutionised communication. Innovations in sustainability have the same potential to revolutionise business as these previous innovations. In driving the private sector to become more sustainable and carbon-neutral, people should not only protest and advocate but also create viable solutions that replace environmentally unfriendly practices currently implemented in business. This campus has advocates in place, now, it needs entrepreneurs.
The University of Sheffield’s Enterprise team recognizes the potential of sustainable innovation and in response has launched its Enterprise Sustainability Programme. Here, students across all faculties and backgrounds receive support and training to tackle sustainability challenges that are posed on campus and around the world. The programme consists of roughly 10 sessions guiding participants on the entrepreneurial process teaching problem definition, ideation, prototyping, and pitching with the final session being a competition where the best ideas can win £1000.
Entrepreneurs are not just trained businesspeople; entrepreneurs are everyday people who have thought deeply about a problem and honed a solution into a viable business platform. Airbnb was created by a book cover artist, Tempur-Pedic’s founder was a racehorse trainer, and Allbirds was created by an Australian football player. All these examples go to show that anyone can be an entrepreneur and thus any student can be a part of the Enterprise Sustainability Programme. When it comes to sustainability and achieving a carbon-neutral world, everyone has something to contribute.
By: Hayden O’Bryan
Hayden is an MSc. Environmental Change and International Development student at the University of Sheffield. He is from St. Louis, MO in the United States and got his undergraduate degree at the Kelley School of business, triple majoring in Entrepreneurship, Sales, and Marketing.