Ah business?!? That's awesome!!
Milan | Italy
Andrea: What do you do?
Giulia Detomati (Founder and CEO): We are a B corp dealing mainly with educational projects related to environment sustainability. We are 8 people, plus the mentors coming from the companies which help us to develop the programmes. Our beneficiaries are young people, mainly from high schools. We focus on social entrepreneurship and circular economy. We work with a methodology that makes our educational products scalable: we train trainers, teachers, mentors and volunteers - often coming from other B corps - and then we bring our programmes in schools anywhere in Italy. We use different methods, one of them is the hackathon you’ve seen today: young people gather for 3 days to dive deep into climate change and prepare business solutions which can tackle it. They learn in a constructive way.
Andrea: How did the idea come about?
Giulia: We come from another association that deals with sustainable mobility, circular economy and education. By doing many things I found myself learning a lot about entrepreneurship. I realized that it can really change things, have a strong impact and transform both yourself and reality. This was the inspiration. We want to connect environmental education with entrepreneurship and bring it to kids so they can understand better what they want to do and then apply it, implement projects. In practise, not just in theory as they mostly do.
Claudio Avella (Project Management, Project development, Education): In the moment they start to put hands on and really focus on the solution, during the process they develop ideas and the results coming up are way more innovative than what they’d imagined in the first place. From a simple project like "Collect plastic waste at school", it turns out instead they better work with plastic to do other things, to change people's habits, to enter a whole set of existing networks of players, maybe already present in the area but in need to be strengthened. The opportunities grow and the way you conceive the world changes.
Andrea: We are all millennials, but you are dealing with people who belong to a different generation, with a different way of thinking. How do you relate to that?
Giulia: Oftentimes, one of the things they say is: "Nothing can be done", "The environment is important but at the end work is what matters". On the other hand, they are much more receptive to environmental issues than their parents’ generation, they are used to hearing about them; they already have a background.
Claudio: A person in her sixties saw the birth and spread of plastic as the great revolution of our society and instead today we realise it can lead to huge problems for the environment. Everything changes so rapidly. The language changes, habits change, the way of working, doing research changes. Young people use cellphones as if they were encyclopedias. Today people think that innovation equals technology. And it’s not so. Technology is a tool to innovate, but I could as well innovate by returning to washing glasses with ash. It is an innovation in behaviour. I think we are the back end of a period of idealism during which ideologies and ideas were built. Now it seems to be all a bit foggy, but in reality young people take small themes from these clouds and make them their own. See what's happening with Friday for Future.
Giulia: It takes so much to make young people understand that they have to do something and get involved. They tend to do what they normally do at school: listen to a lecture without getting involved much. For example, for one of the projects in which we followed the whole development of a green company, after three meetings they told me: “But, we really have to do a business??? That's awesome!” We told them since day one ... but maybe they have to go beyond their mental barriers to understand they can do something real, for themselves and their territory. And having fun doing it!
Andrea: And what is needed to do something real, to change the world?
Germana (Education, Communication): We try to raise awareness on young people, to transmit trust in the future and above all to make them understand that they can really and concretely do something, starting from everyday things up to setting up their own start-up. We believe that in a not too far future, businesses of any kind will be sustainable.
Sara Melziade (Education, Project development, Communication): Optimism and believing. Optimism, which then gives you the impetus to believe that change is possible, the strength to change things. If there is no hope, it is useless to start.
Annarosa De Luca (Project Management, Project development, Education): In a primary class we talked about the 5Rs and they didn't think about 5R - Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Repurpose, Recycle... - but they said:”Ah, the 5 responsibilities!” The first thing that pop up in their mind... and in fact they are the 5 responsibilities one should have.
More about Invento: inventolab.com