This month teams of students from six universities around New Zealand will go on an intense 48-hour mission to prepare their ideas in an attempt to win the UCE Kathmandu NZ Student Social Enterprise Challenge, created by the University of Canterbury’s Centre for Entrepreneurship (UCE) in the lead-up to the Social Enterprise World Forum.

The students’ challenge is to focus on the prevention of mental health issues through wellbeing. The students are asked to use the Five Ways to Wellbeing as a framework, which can be summarised as:

  1. Connect – talk, listen, be there and feel connected
  2. Give – your time, your works, your presence
  3. Take notice – remember the simple things that give you joy
  4. Keep learning – embrace new opportunities, see opportunities, surprise yourself
  5. Be active – be what you can, enjoy what you do, move your mood.

Each team needs to come up with a business idea that has social impact or a social enterprise, with an innovative way to improve wellbeing in New Zealand.

This new nationwide challenge has involved four regional competitions held last term across New Zealand, represented by six universities.

The winning team from each regional competition will compete in a 48-hour challenge on 24-26 September, based at the UCE in the University of Canterbury’s Ilam campus, where they will develop and present a social enterprise solution to a specific challenge based on wellbeing.

Incubator Manager for the UC Centre for Entrepreneurship Michelle Panzer views this as an exciting opportunity to engage students with social impact.

“In the lead-up to the Social Enterprise World Forum, the largest conference in Christchurch post-earthquake, we aim to engage more students in Social Enterprise – hands-on and practical,” says Panzer.

“We are seeing that increasing numbers of students have an overwhelming desire to make the world a better place. We’re really eager to harness this and ensure they can achieve social impact in a sustainable way.”

Kathmandu has chosen to support the Challenge as it aligns well with the company’s long-standing commitment to sustainability, and continued interest in engaging young people with ethical business practices.

“We are incredibly proud to be supporting young people committed to making a positive impact through business. We are excited about the Social Enterprise World Forum being hosted in our hometown and we hope to help inspire the next generation of innovators,” says Kathmandu Brand Manager Tim Loftus.

In the National Final, the regional winners will present their solutions to a panel of judges in front of an audience that will include attendees from the Social Enterprise World Forum, which begins the next day.

All are welcome to attend the final presentations of the UCE Kathmandu NZ Student Social Enterprise Challenge on Tuesday 26 September, starting at 5pm in the Engineering Core, 69 Creyke Rd, University of Canterbury, Christchurch. Register to attend here.


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