It’s the day we announce the WINNERS of the School Enterprise Challenge 2014 and what better time to have a chat with one of our esteemed judges – Lisa Neuberger-Fernandez.
Lisa is Global Director of Corporate Citizenship Programmes at Accenture, one of the world’s leading management consultancies. She joined our panel of judges for the first time this year, to help select the winners of the 2014 competition. In this blog, she shares her experience and insights on the School Enterprise Challenge as well as words of wisdom for all you budding entrepreneurs….
What do you like about The School Enterprise Challenge competition? “It was incredibly inspiring to read and in some cases watch the Youtube videos of the talented students from around the world. They were so motivated by the School Enterprise Challenge that they devoted significant amount of time and effort to thinking through how to build or nurture an enterprise to benefit people, planet and profit. The joy, wisdom, creativity, and changemaker esprit de corps evidenced by all of the applications is an incredible sign that the young people participating, and their communities, have a bright future ahead.”
Why did you agree to be a judge? “I am a big believer in the power of entrepreneurship from a very young age as a way of building skills and confidence that is hard to replicate with other forms of education. In my experience, learning by doing is the best way to ensure that someone walks away with the tools to succeed.”
What were you most impressed by when reading the reports? “What struck me the most about the student reports was the fresh thinking and the optimism that the student challengers exhibited. This sense of self-empowerment and a belief that ‘I can make a difference working together with my peers’ is a tremendously valuable lesson that can last a lifetime once sparked.”
Was there a school business idea or report that you particularly liked? “All of the student applications that I read were well conceived and had merits. In this competition, truly everyone is a winner for having the gumption to create something from nothing and being industrious. I especially enjoyed watching the videos of students from Udaan enterprise at Kulachi HansRaj Model School who talked in a very clear and compelling way about the value of self-employment for young people in India. The confidence and wisdom contained in the videos is an incredible testament to how much the students learned and took away from participating in the competition.”
What advice would you give to the participants for this year’s competition? “Remember what it feels like to believe that you can do anything, make anything, together with your friends and peers you can make a difference. Hold onto this spirit and let it guide you to take more risks in the future, to believe in yourself and your power to transform the world around you, one person, one card, one plant at a time. It is by unleashing the positive power you all possess deep within and channeling this towards measurable societal, environmental and financial impact that we can address some of the most intractable challenges facing our society.”
Any general advice you’d give young people who are passionate about social entrepreneurship? “There are many ways to find meaning in this world. If you find purpose by ‘doing well by doing good’ – building a sustainable enterprise that simultaneously has a positive benefit to people or the planet – then do not ever give up in your pursuit of balancing these different forces. You have a bright future ahead if you can keep that spark alive and apply your passion and brain power towards solving societal challenges with sustainable business ideas.”
A big thank you to Lisa and all of our judges for their time and support in selecting our 2014 winners. The School Enterprise Challenge 2015 launches on April 8th. Find out more about the competition and the many prizes on offer at http://www.schoolenterprisechallenge.org.