This week saw a fantastic start to our annual Entrepreneurship Challenge lecture series. Set up instil a spirit of enterprise, the Challenge provides a tailor-made course in entrepreneurship for all of our Lower Sixth pupils.
Both theoretical and practical, the course considers why some businesses fail while others succeed through a series of inspiring lectures from successful entrepreneurs. Running alongside these lectures is the Entrepreneurship Challenge itself, in which nine teams of Lower Sixth pupils compete to become one of the three winning teams. Each team receives a share of a final monetary prize, with which to turn their ideas into reality.
This year Alexandra and Alexander Nash, the founders of Yuhme, manufacturers of ‘the world's most eco-friendly reusable water bottle with a purpose’, took to the stage for the Challenge’s first lecture.
Alexandra Nash was an elite athlete who, at 19 years of age, travelled to New Mexico State University in the USA from her native Sweden on a swimming scholarship. After a degree in journalism and an MBA, she became the CEO of her father's tech company, successfully doubling its turnover in six years. Conscious of the important role companies have in helping to solve the problems facing the world today, her heart led her towards social entrepreneurship.
Her husband, Alexander, also travelled a rather unconventional road to the same ambition. Educated at King Henry VIII School in Coventry, his early life was dominated by his passion for rugby. Trips to Zimbabwe and Central America alerted him as a student to social and environmental issues, but his love of rugby was intense and for 10 years he played for the Lions and Coventry. Sometimes we have to abandon something we love to pursue something even more important; in Alexander’s case, his rugby was sacrificed when he moved to Sweden to join Alexandra and start their Yuhme adventure.
Their joint enterprise quickly blossomed, generating huge quantities of clean water while at the same time significantly reducing global carbon emissions. They are particularly proud of the more than 17 million single-use water bottles their company has saved from landfill disposal. More than a few of these fantastic bottles are currently in the hands of Brighton College pupils, who were each issued a bottle shortly after the College’s ban on single-use plastic bottles came into effect.
Thank you to Alexandra and Alexander for such an informative and inspiring talk.
- Mr Chong (Head of Economics)