Business School works with the next generation of international entrepreneurs to support creativity and innovation
University leading two projects overseas as part of British Council programme to boost entrepreneurship and enterprise skills for students and young business people
The Business School (formerly Cass) is working with young entrepreneurs from Kyrgyzstan and Armenia to support the development of innovative enterprise ideas.
The Creative Spark Big Idea Challenge provides thousands of students in Central Asia, South Caucasus, and Ukraine with the opportunity to develop and present their own business ideas and enterprise skills.
City, University of London is supporting the projects of eight of the finalists this year, in Kyrgyzstan and Armenia. The young entrepreneurs are competing across the categories ‘Digital Technology’, ‘Social Impact’, ‘Creative’ and ‘Climate Change’ in a bid to win a grant to fund their business idea.
The Business School is supporting ideas including:
- Eco-friendly street benches made from recycled plastic
- A flying robot device collecting waste
- Small ecosystems of succulents and house flowers to decorate small flats and offices
- An innovative telegram bot for farmers
- A website to sell unsold meals from public catering outlets with discounts
- A project aimed at developing a Kyrgyz brand in the global export market
- A piano that can be played by people who do not know the notes
- An autonomous device to reduce the damage caused by pests to agriculture.
The projects are part of the British Council’s Creative Spark: Higher Education Enterprise Programme. The five-year initiative (2018-2023) supports university and institutional partnerships with the UK to develop entrepreneurship and enterprise skills for students and young entrepreneurs across seven countries: Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Azerbaijan, Armenia, and Georgia.
Since the programme began in 2018, there have been more than 920 new business ideas including the creation of a fashion brand for people with disabilities, an accessible device for contactless hand disinfection and a healthy alternative sweet for diabetic children created with natural ingredients.
The two existing international projects led by City in Armenia and Kyrgyzstan, in partnership with ChangeSchool, have trained 74 academics and more than 1,300 students, resulting in new business ideas for solar panels, smart mirrors and Oinobook – a felt book teaching children in Kyrgyzstan about local traditions – among many others.
Dr Sara Jones, Director of the Centre for Creativity in Professional Practice at the Business School, who has been working on the projects, said: “It’s been wonderful to work with colleagues at ChangeSchool, Enactus Kyrgyzstan and the Armenian National Engineering Laboratories to put in place new programmes that are developing the creative and design thinking skills of students and young people in the region. The ideas they have come up with as a result have been truly inspiring.”
A panel of national and international judges experienced in enterprise education and creative entrepreneurship have selected the finalists, with members of the public able to select their favourite new business idea online until Sunday 18th July.
To vote for your favourite idea, visit the Creative Spark Big Idea Challenge website.
Notes to Editors
- The winners of each competition category will receive up to £3,000 in professional development grant funding, personalised mentoring support and a chance to participate in a Startup Sprint Course to help them to take their business idea to market
- A complete list of projects supported by Creative Spark: Higher Education Enterprise Programme since 2018 is available on the British Council website
- The British Council launched Creative Spark in 2018. Since then, the five-year initiative has supported thousands of students, graduates and young entrepreneurs to break new ground with innovative business ideas. Another main aim of the programme is to support new collaboration opportunities that can develop enterprise skills and entrepreneurship in countries where there is great potential and where youth unemployment is a key issue. To do this, the British Council provides funding to higher education institutions and creative institutions to develop partnerships across Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan and the UK.