Opening young Dutch minds to social innovation

On one early morning in November of 2016, Jong Ondernemen (JO) in the Netherlands hit the highway and made their way to Veluws College Walterbosch in Apeldoorn. Their mission was to deliver a lesson under the programme of Social Innovation Relay (SIR) to students aged 15 to 18 (fourth graders). 101 students from three classes benefited from the lesson.

In preparation for this guest lecture, a few days earlier the students were introduced to the project and had carried out an impact assessment. During the guest lectures, JO used the case of Kromkommer – a Dutch social enterprise which combats food waste. According to statistics on their site, between 30 to 50% of all the food in the world is wasted. Kromkommer selects fruits and veggies which would otherwise be discarded based on their looks, and has created their own soup line with these rejected but perfectly edible foods.

It’s safe to say these fourth graders had heard of entrepreneurship before in their young lives, but not of social entrepreneurship, and they were amazed by the fact that they could actually earn money by doing good!  They also weren’t aware that some of their classmates were already supporting social entrepreneurs (through using a Dopper - https://dopper.com/).

In the end, each pupil received a challenge to write down several social issues he or she, along with their friends and family may encounter on a daily basis. The students were told that by then of the day, they were likely to come up with at least five ideas for a social enterprise to solve that problem.

One student was so flabbergasted by the lecture and his newly-gained insights that he approached the lecturers with his proclamation that, “Through this lecture I learned that social entrepreneurship is really cool! I’m definitely going to try and come up with a great idea and compete in the international final!”

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