Last Wednesday (12th February) I attended IGEM’s London Showcase and Lion’s Lair event with special guests Energy Gym, a team of two 13-year-old boys, Jack and Oliver from Priory School, Southsea. They were finalists in the 2019 Big Ideas Competition, and had been invited to speak at the event.
IGEM is one of our national partners and they hold an annual ‘Lions’ Lair’ event for their London, Southern and Eastern Section. This event is similar to ‘Dragon’s Den’: representatives from the gas industry pitch to high profile judges their equivalent of a ‘Big Idea’ to see who has the most innovative solution to a problem that could see benefits in efficiency, safety and sustainability. Just like the TV programme, pitching to the judges isn’t easy, with each participant being given a mere 4 mins to pitch, followed by judges’ questions, in front of a room full of key industry professionals.
Well Jack and Oliver were up first and gave a flawless, pitch perfect presentation complete with a prototype demonstrating how their Big Idea (a gym that creates clean and sustainable energy while working out, that is specifically targeted at young people to tackle childhood obesity) could genuinely work. The judges and audience were blown away by their idea, their confidence and how professionally they came across. They lit up the evening and were showered with praise throughout, leaving their mums and teacher bursting with pride.
The rest of the evening was dominated by references to the next generation, their potential and how the industry needs to reach out further. At Solutions for the Planet we know that young people are talented, creative and have the ability to come up with innovations that will solve or least alleviate many of our world’s challenges. We are so pleased to be able to facilitate these opportunities for our young people and enable them to shine and share this with others. Steve Fraser, the CEO of Cadent, gave the key note speech, and spoke very passionately about diversity and reaching out to young people regardless of their background, so that the industry doesn’t miss out on hidden talent. We hope that after seeing Jack and Oliver, he and others will be all the more motivated to do this. We work with schools from disadvantaged areas, and higher levels of deprivation and we find gems where perhaps too many others are blind to them. We hope that many more companies will join us in our work of finding Big Ideas and solutions for our planet from our young people.
Written by: Erel Onojobi, S4TP Programme Coordinator, South-East England
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Solutions for the Planet Ltd