The Global Enterprise Experience and SDG 8

I was always very aware whilst at Nottingham Trent University that in order to be as employable as I could possibly be when I reached Graduation, I had to take every opportunity that Nottingham Business School offers. The Global Enterprise Experience is an online competition (https://www.geebiz.org/) which allows you to practically develop a wide range of skills whilst working with a group of 6-8 total strangers from across the globe! I found this opportunity via the University’s Employability Team.

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The competition brief is normally centred around one of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals but is always left broad enough to allow creative juices to really flow. The competition from start to end is open for 3 weeks, which is no time at all to create a business concept! This year’s focus was on Sustainable Development Goal 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth.

Before the competition started, I had to fill in information about myself and my current skills.  I was then put into a team with individuals from across the globe; Guyana, The Dominican Republic, The Netherlands, New Zealand and Nigeria. We communicated via technology such as Whatsapp and a Facebook group but getting the ball rolling and finally deciding on a concept, did take longer than expected because of everyone’s different time zones.

From the beginning, every team member is encouraged by the organisers to be proactive and to not just rely on the team leader but to foster team creativity yourself – every team member’s ability to do this is measured using a 360 degree feedback method which is completed by your fellow team members at the end of the project.

We eventually managed to agree on creating a proposal focusing on environmental issues and discussed possible solutions to problems we all had experience of in our own environments. I learnt about issues such as the Sargassum (a type of seaweed) build up on the coastline of some Caribbean islands, which is having a detrimental effect on many industries and is proving difficult to remove, as it requires heavy machinery, which damages the shores. We based our final idea on creating a viable solution to solve this issue whilst simultaneously bringing employment and prosperity to the Dominican Republic and hopefully, other Caribbean islands in the future.

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Our final concept involved creating employment opportunities for women in the Dominican Republic (as the unemployment rate amongst women is high currently) by giving them the opportunity to collect the Sargassum from the beaches and coastlines which is then turned into a plastic-like material and made into a eco-friendly reusable coffee cup, to be sold to socially conscious millennials. We named our business ‘The Happy Cup Co’ and had a turtle as our company mascot which was embedded in our logo (our mission was to act in ways that always kept our ‘happy’ turtle in good spirits). The business proposal we had to submit for the competition had to be detailed and an outline of what’s expected by the judges (business industry experts, members of government etc) is provided. The proposal had to be concise and as detailed as possible, but at only 6 pages long this was quite the challenge in itself!

Overall, I think this is one of the best opportunities I have found whilst being a student at NBS. The chance to work with global teammates doesn’t arise often and I have improved current skills such as communicating with teammates in non face-to-face situations, problem-solving and creating concepts in a short space of time. I also developed my leadership skills as some members of the team did not submit their work so the team leader and myself had to step up and complete this on behalf of the team. This is stated as one of the reasons why I received high ratings in my 360-degree feedback and also led to me winning a highly commended global peer leader award which is a great thing for my CV and something that I am proud of too. The challenge is great preparation for the global workplace, I am proud of myself for helping my other team members and can’t wait to carry on my journey to become a global leader- this experience has only made me more determined to gain a position that allows me to make a positive difference in the lives of others!

If you do decide to take on this challenge next year, here are some small nuggets of advice to help you on your way to winning in 2019 (the winning team receives a cash prize each!):

  • Creating a concept that is valuable and life-changing for the proposed societal group isn’t as difficult as you might think- it just needs some thoughtful ideas to spark a real development in shaping the overall concept
  • Thoughtfulness and creative thinking are important factors to consider when developing a concept- the best ideas are from the heart!
  • There is often one team member that doesn’t contribute anything- always remain polite to them and offer your assistance, you don’t know what difficulties they may be facing!
  • Sometimes I accidentally used English slang without thinking and nobody understood me- it is important to speak clearly to other team members and to be mindful that some people will be speaking English as a second language!

If you are interested in taking part next year it takes place in the Springtime. For NTU students please contact fiona.winfield@ntu.ac.uk for more information.

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-This blog post was written by Eloise Thomas a recent NTU graduate of the Nottingham Business School. Many thanks from the Green Academy! 

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