Ruth Mitchell

Boardroom versus Classroom challenge launched

Local businesses and school students are set to unite today for the Boardroom versus Classroom Challenge, in a bid to encourage entrepreneurialism in schools.

This years Challenge, which will be launched in 14 March, will build on the success of last years pilot which brought together three North East businesses and schools to identify commercial opportunities relating to the low-carbon and climate resilient economy.

The initiative also coincides with Climate Week, and aims to give businesses with the opportunity to realise ideas which they might not have the time or resources to do normally.

Ideas which came out of last years’ Challenge included a prototype for an environmentally friendly luxury tent, and using a decommissioned NASA space shuttle heat shield to develop a product which recovers energy rather than losing it.

One of the businesses who took part in last years Challenge was C2MUK Ltd. Commenting on the experience, managing director Gary Thompson said: “The Boardroom v Classroom Challenge was an immensely valuable chance to explore and develop commercial opportunities relating to climate change that we wouldn’t necessarily have the time or resources to do so otherwise.

“It was great working with the students and tapping into their ideas and enthusiasm is inspiring and practically very useful.”

The project is run in partnership with Climate NE, the Climate Change Schools Project and the Federation of Small Businesses.

Regional Chairman at the North East FSB Ted Salmon added: “There is no doubt that moving to a low-carbon and resilient economy offers significant commercial opportunities.

“The Boardroom v Classroom Challenge teams up local innovative businesses with the next generation to make their ideas a reality while allowing young people to really use their creativity to solve climate change challenges in an entrepreneurial way.”

Once the challenge is launched, students will have until the end of June to develop their ideas before pitching them to their partner business. Businesses will then give feedback on the ideas and help the young innovators to identify next steps.

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