To make a circular economy a reality, we need entrepreneurs. Not only experienced entrepreneurs who switch step by step to a circular product or service, but also young starters who tackle their business sustainably from the start. And that is where education often falls short.
With the project Wake up, Shake up, Start up! GoodPlanet Belgium, Junior Argonauts, Kringwinkel Antwerpen, Unizo, the VUB and the EcoHuis of the city of Antwerp are joining forces to stimulate socially responsible entrepreneurship among young people, via a theme that is close to their hearts.
We start in the school context with a documentary "Cotton, the story behind your pants", about the polluting textile sector, in order to stimulate young people's interest in a pathway around circular entrepreneurship. The participating classes visit the textile processing department of the Kringwinkel and follow a workshop in which they brainstorm about circular business models in the textile sector. Subsequently, students can work in groups on their own business plan, under the guidance of Junior Argonauts and Unizo. Finally, they present their designs to a jury and the public, whereby 5 winners are selected. They get a coaching trajectory as a prize: professional guidance from Junior Argonauts to further scale up their ideas and to establish their own start-up.
Although we start this project in a school context, we take the young people much further. Their dreams and ambitions determine where the coaching process ends, but especially where their sustainable entrepreneurial story begins.
Partners Kringwinkel Antwerpen, Junior Argonauts, Unizo, VUB, EcoHuis van Stad Antwerpen
Currently, our project has a follow-up series running in Brussels. We hope to repeat this in Wallonia. It is also open to teachers to pay, but this can be a barrier for schools that do not have the budget for it.
We also share our knowledge with other partners. For example, 11.11.11 has adopted our redwire game and the documentary became part of their pedagogical dossier on fair trade.