The Big Ideas Competition 2017/18!

CEO Solutions for the Planet

Welcome back to school everyone! We’ve been working hard over the summer, learning from what you told us you liked and what you thought could be improved from last year’s Big Ideas programme, and we’re really excited to get started.

This year we will be aiming to work with just over 40 schools which means that our regional finals will be bigger and better than ever.  After over 30 brilliant Big Ideas Days, 150 slick submissions, 6 super semi-finals and a phenomenal final (got you there!) in 2016/17 it’s hard to imagine what this year will have in store for us.  We’ve talked a lot in the team about what we’re looking forward to this year and the thing that we’re most looking forward to is meeting you all and working with you over the next 10 months.  Some of the same schools with both new and familiar faces, some of the same businesses with both new and more established mentors.  There’s a lot to be excited about and I speak on behalf of our newly expanded team (we’ve welcomed Charlotte Hosier as you may have read about in our newsletter) when I say we are extremely excited!!

It seems a long time ago that we launched the new look Big Ideas programme in Yorkshire (in 2013) but in four short years (and trust me they do get shorter with age), we have worked with over 10,000 11-14-year-olds; we have grown our team; we have grown our geographic footprint; we have grown and deepened our business partnerships; and most importantly we are continuing to have a Big Impact.  We know, because you are telling us.

Last year an impressive 98% of students, 100% of teachers and 100% of business mentors would recommend the programme to friends and colleagues.  Some other preview highlights from our soon-to-be-released 2017 Impact Report are that 85% of young people say they know more about sustainability, and 87% feel empowered that young people can make a difference on sustainability.

83% know more about how companies are using STEM skills to tackle sustainability, 71% understand more about the job opportunities using STEM skills and crucially, 74% say they are more interested in STEM subjects as a result of participating in the Big Ideas Days.

We are determined to get those numbers up this year.  We are aware that it will be a challenge but we always challenge you to work together to solve big sustainability problems and you always deliver, so we plan to deliver too.  To the cohort of 2018… Let’s go!!!

Jen Baughan, CEO, Solutions for the Planet