In December 2019 I had the opportunity to participate in a workshop at the University of Leeds led by the representative of the Climate Entrepreneurs Club, created and based at the Imperial College, in London. The topic of the event was on Climate Change, Entrepreneurship, and how developing innovative Business ideas could contribute to mitigate the problem. Their baseline idea was to catch people’s attention on this very challenging issue and stimulate them to think about entrepreneurial and sustainable solutions to tackle Climate Change from a more narrowed perspective. Everyone could develop a brilliant idea, and the Club’s duty should be to inspire people to bring it out.
It was such an inspiring workshop that all the other people who attended and I spontaneously agreed on creating a partner Club, based in Leeds, in order to expand their vision to another University and City Network. The University of Leeds is such a motivating environment where you can always find like-minded people to develop powerful ideas and initiatives with. We realised that we all were students, researchers from the School of Earth and Environment. Even if we had never met before and did not know each other, we united thanks to our desire to contribute to protect the Environment and develop sustainable values in our society and economy. We had no doubt that this could have been a great opportunity to act. This is how Climate Entrepreneurs Club Leeds was born!
We organised our first meeting, where we decided how to structure the Committee. We nominated our Co-chairs, the people we considered more reliable and suitable for the role, and then we divided the remaining roles between Program Leaders, Media-Marketing and Website Managers, Community Relations Managers, Events, Logistics and Finance Managers. Everyone now had their own responsibility to run the Club.
In the first meetings we had the chance to get to know each other better, and to become friends. Our relationship was growing, and we were starting to become a real Team. At first, the most important thing to do was to all agree on our Mission and Vision, which now sound as such:
Our vision is a zero-carbon, circular and positive economy that respects planetary boundaries and ensures the well-being of all people.
We strive to provide a platform for cross-cooperation across the University of Leeds and beyond to support ideas that enable sustainable changes in the way we live and do business.
After that, we had several meetings in which we started planning how to structure our first event. It was a very accurate process; everyone gave their contribution to make everything work best.
We worked hard to make every detail perfect, and the thing I enjoyed the most was our collaborative spirit. It was clear that people that agreed on the same vision of the world and really wanted to play a role in the cause were truly motivated and enjoyed working together to achieve the same objectives.
Our First Event
We ran our first event at the School of Earth and Environment of the University of Leeds. We were very excited about the fact that people from different backgrounds came to listen to us and to participate to our workshop. Our aim was in fact to unite students of different ages and schools, to have the most diverse audience as possible.
After giving a little bit of context about the global current situation on Climate Change, to activate the thinking process in their minds about how to solve it, we stepped to the main part of the event: the workshop!
During the workshop, people were divided in groups led by a member of the Committee. Each group was assigned a topic related to Climate Change and environmental issues for which they had to think about more narrowed problems and consequent solutions. These were Plastic-Air Pollution, Biodiversity Loss, Over-Consumption, Energy Transition and Food Security. Everyone could say whatever was on their minds, even the most bizarre ideas were written in the so-called “Challenge Maps”. We wanted to transmit our vision that there is the need to be creative, original to find an entrepreneurial solution to such a complex issue like Climate Change.
I cannot stress enough how the people who came to our workshop were so open-minded and developed amazing, interesting ideas. They really exceeded our expectations!
After concluding our workshop, we received a lot of positive feedback, which made us understand that we did a very good job in organising and leading the event. Our next step is to organise further brainstorming events, in which we could go more in detail with the ideas that were developed in the first one. We are going to invite Business leaders and Entrepreneurs that are basing their work on embedding Sustainability, tackling Climate Change, in order to put these ideas in practice and to start thinking as real entrepreneurs!
We really look forward to seeing more people interested in the topic. As said before, everyone is needed in this journey towards Environmentally Sustainable Business to mitigate Climate Change and promote sustainable societies and economies, and this does not depend on your field of study at all. Instead, we hope to meet as many different people as possible that could take a creative and innovative approach!