Activism

Dig the new business breed: Ethical entrepreneurship at the Enactus World Cup

Innovation and business are being brought together through Enactus, a worldwide training scheme for students, to transform lives with socially conscious ideas

Enactus KCL at The Shard

It’s capitalism, kids, but not quite as we know it.

Last night, halfway up London’s tallest building, a group of bright young students from King’s College London showcased a socially conscious business idea that is helping to transform lives in Tanzania. They are the UK’s entry in the Enactus World Cup 2017, held at the Excel Centre, London in September.

There, they will join the brightest and the best students from around the world, representing each of the 36 countries in which the Enactus programme currently operates. More than 72,000 students are currently part of the scheme.

It’s about minds for business and hearts for the world

The idea is simple. What if the entrepreneurs, business boffins and leaders of tomorrow were to get an early education, from academics and business leaders, in the ways of sustainable social enterprise and ethical entrepreneurship?

The plan is for students to join forces and embark on projects, both locally and globally in universities around the world. The goal is to reduce inequality and waste and create positive change that is truly sustainable.

Andrew Houghton, an Enactus graduate-turned-employee, says “it’s about minds for business and hearts for the world”.

In the room watching the students describe their Light Mountain Project were representatives from Coca Cola, Amazon, KPMG, British Airways, Tesco, Diageo, Accenture and many more.

You can see how much business can benefit the world

Law student Yvonne Teng and Classics student Jenny Wong talked to The Big Issue about why they joined Enactus.

“It’s like a community of people on the same page, working towards social change,” says Teng. “The concept of charity and business coming together – and the Big Issue is a huge example – is really important. You can see how much business can benefit the world.”

“Our biggest project is Light Mountain,” adds Wong. “We are helping produce cleaner cooking solutions in Tanzania. We are helping people use their skills to make a sustainable business.

“It began with solar cooking stoves in the Philippines and the idea just grew.”

Not only do the new stoves they helped develop alongside academics and engineers produce less toxic fumes – helping to combat high levels of respiratory illness – but the fuel they use is more environmentally friendly, leading to less deforestation.

Cheaper to run and manufacture than previous models, they are affordable for the local community, produced from locally sourced materials, and are now distributed and sold by local women, whose increased income has lifted their families out of poverty.

Other recent Enactus projects include working on youth employability programmes in Glasgow and London and candle-making and selling workshops for homeless people in Liverpool.

And the upcoming World Cup? Imagine Dragon’s Den meets Tomorrow’s World, with a social conscience – entrepreneurship and innovation directed towards positive social change – and you get the picture.

As one of the business leaders commented: “If young people were in charge of the business world, we might just be in a better position…”

Support the Big Issue

For over 30 years, the Big Issue has been committed to ending poverty in the UK. In 2024, our work is needed more than ever. Find out how you can support the Big Issue today.
Vendor martin Hawes

Recommended for you

View all
'We are here and we exist': Inside the neighbourhood offering sanctuary to queer Russians and Ukrainians
Pride

'We are here and we exist': Inside the neighbourhood offering sanctuary to queer Russians and Ukrainians

Actor Liz Carr says it hurts to hear her younger self 'wanted to die'
Liz Carr
Disability rights

Actor Liz Carr says it hurts to hear her younger self 'wanted to die'

Feeling like change in the UK isn't possible? Let these 28 purposeful campaigns prove otherwise
Activism

Feeling like change in the UK isn't possible? Let these 28 purposeful campaigns prove otherwise

Back to Black actor Eddie Marsan: 'There aren't any no-go areas in Tower Hamlets'
London

Back to Black actor Eddie Marsan: 'There aren't any no-go areas in Tower Hamlets'

Most Popular

Read All
Renters pay their landlords' buy-to-let mortgages, so they should get a share of the profits
Renters: A mortgage lender's window advertising buy-to-let products
1.

Renters pay their landlords' buy-to-let mortgages, so they should get a share of the profits

Exclusive: Disabled people are 'set up to fail' by the DWP in target-driven disability benefits system, whistleblowers reveal
Pound coins on a piece of paper with disability living allowancve
2.

Exclusive: Disabled people are 'set up to fail' by the DWP in target-driven disability benefits system, whistleblowers reveal

Cost of living payment 2024: Where to get help now the scheme is over
next dwp cost of living payment 2023
3.

Cost of living payment 2024: Where to get help now the scheme is over

Strike dates 2023: From train drivers to NHS doctors, here are the dates to know
4.

Strike dates 2023: From train drivers to NHS doctors, here are the dates to know