It’s been a while since we wrote a blog post! We have not forgotten you! 🙂 We have been busy during the last few months reading and marking your Final Reports and we have been so impressed by your achievements! An international panel formed of a number of high profile business experts and entrepreneurs have also been involved in judging and choosing the winners of the 2013 School Enterprise Challenge.
We have had so much positive feedback from our judges, that we wanted to speak with one of them in more detail and share her thoughts with all of you!
Young Global Leader, Soulaima Gourani
Meet Soulaima Gourani – one of our 2013 School Enterprise Challenge Judges!
Soulaima is an internationally known speaker, business adviser, author and innovator. She was selected as a ‘Young Global Leader’ by the World Economic Forum in 2012, and is one of the 2014 ′40 under 40′ European Young Leaders, selected by EuropaNova and Friends of Europe.
Here is what she had to say about the School Enterprise Challenge and our participants!
Interview with Soulaima…..
What do you like about The School Enterprise Challenge competition?
“I like that The School Enterprise Challenge combines schools with entrepreneurship. This is very important, to do something in the school for the school which also benefits the environment and the community. I like that schools need to write a business plan and to prove that they can run a business, focusing on profit and loss.
I was surprised at how advanced the plans were, it is not just something you can do in an afternoon, you need to document as well as start and run a business. The competition combines all the skills needed to run an enterprise. I was really really impressed with the projects I read.”
Why did you agree to be a judge?
“Because my heart is in entrepreneurship, it is so important to create a generation that not only thinks about what job they can do, but also what job they can create. The older people get, the more risk adverse they become, so it is important to start early. Some of the students that participate are really young and I really like this.”
What were you most impressed by when reading the reports?
“I think that all of the reports were very well written, there were many great observations and considerations, and you could feel the human touch while reading them. I was also impressed with so many people talking about how they had developed leadership and teamwork. In one business plan it said “we have to change our employees so that we can innovate”… I was so impressed with these young people that realised that they needed to be dynamic and not static! These young people were 11 and their concern was how to stay innovative. I was surprised and impressed.”
Was there a school business idea / report that you particularly liked and why?
“I liked all of the reports!!!!! It was hard to mark as they were all so good! The differences between them were marginal. Overall I was very impressed. What I really liked was that everyone was concerned with the environment. I was impressed with the efforts of some businesses on how to scale and create an impact on a wider scale.”
What advice would you give to the participants for this year’s competition?
“First I would tell all of you to believe in what you are doing. You need to come up with a great idea that can be sold, something that you are really passionate about because you will spend a lot of time on it, so it needs to be something that you really like. Next, think in terms of how you can SCALE THIS! Find mentors, go out and find people who can help you. Parents can be great mentors, so get them involved! And finally, businesses have to be profitable, even if you have a good idea, if you do not make money it will not be successful.”
Any general advice you’d give young people who are passionate about social entrepreneurship?
Students at The Birches pre-primary, South Africa, proving you are never too young to start a business!
“Most things in the world were started by a single person with a great idea; even a young person can change the world!!! I see this in many places in life – you need to believe that even if you are a young person you can make a difference. One can never be too young to change the world!”
Inspirational stuff! We’d like to thank Soulaima and all of our judges for their involvement in The School Enterprise Challenge 2013 and ofcourse to all of YOU, our talented young entrepreneurs! The winners of 2013 will be announced shortly. Please keep checking your emails and our website to see if your school has won a cash prize and well done to everyone that participated!
The School Enterprise Challenge Team