GIY and Accenture have come together to launch GROW2CEO to seek out Ireland’s next generation of budding food entrepreneurs.
The GROW2CEO initiative which is aimed at secondary school students aims to get 10,000 young people in up to 250 post-primary schools across Ireland to grow their own food, dream up an innovative business idea and roll out that concept to form a new food business during the 16-week learning programme. The GROW2CEO programme will create the next generation of sustainability leaders to help transform our food system and address the climate emergency. Through their engagement with GROW2CEO, 10,000 students will build skills in self-sufficiency, food growing and food entrepreneurship, empowering them to be agents of change for a more sustainable world.
Each school that registers to take part will receive a GIY pack of containers, seeds and soil plus expert growing tips and training advice from GIY founder Michael Kelly plus business start-up and development guides from the experts at Accenture. Throughout the 16-week programme, the students will learn how to grow food from seed, develop a sustainable food-related digital marketing and business plan and engage with 1-2 businesses in their areas, from start-ups to food producers to food suppliers, or environmental businesses to gain knowledge & insights from industry. Finally, they will go head to head in a Dragon’s Den-style finale at regional locations in each province where they will pitch their business idea to the ‘Dragons’ from Accenture and GIY.
Commenting at the campaign launch Michael said, “We all know that the power of small changes when done together can have an enormous impact. The next generation of food entrepreneurs is Generation Z who, by 2030 will represent 27% of global income and will be key decision-makers. Through GROW2CEO we aim to support longer-term capacity building in young people by cultivating food-growing skills as well as entrepreneurial skills to support success in the future. With our knowledge partners at Accenture, we know that this programme will cultivate green and sustainability skills, support resilience and career-readiness in young people personally and professionally and help to develop vital and empowering entrepreneurship skills.
It will be very exciting to see where these students take this project, and we can’t wait to see the concepts and the results of their work at the pitch sessions next spring.”
Corporate Sustainability Lead at Accenture in Ireland Deirdre Murphy added, “At Accenture, we endeavour to drive sustainability and purpose through everything we do, and this includes supporting communities to prepare for the future. To achieve this, new levels of collaboration are needed, so we’re thrilled to be partnering with GIY on this important initiative. Since the agreement of the Global Biodiversity Framework and a global goal for nature, there has been a rapid increase in awareness of how nature and biodiversity are very much fundamental to life as we know it, providing many “ecosystem services” like food. Ensuring our food systems are truly sustainable is such a critical part of the change needed. The next generation has such an important voice and role to play in taking positive action for the planet, which is why we are excited that through this programme, young people will be equipped with the tools and skills they need to really make a difference as future sustainability leaders. We wish all students taking part the very best of luck over the next few months, and we look forward to seeing their hard work come to fruition.”
There will be 4 winning schools (one per region) who will win a school garden and a mini-grant voucher to the value of €500. It is hoped that this transformative prize will build on the outputs of the winning group while also connecting the whole school with the resources, skills and capacity to grow their own food into the future and leverage the learnings of their peers. A runner-up prize of €1,000 mini-grant in the form of vouchers for growing equipment and materials will also be presented in each region to support digital and or growing skills and equipment as a continued school-based education tool and sustainable action. The 4 winning groups will also be awarded a visit to GIY’s GROW HQ’s urban farm & zero-waste cafe, to partake in a one-day food skills course with GIY’s head chef, head gardener and CEO.
Post-primary schools across the country can now register to take part in GROW2CEO until February 1st 2024 please visit, www.grow2ceo.ie
Pic credit: Patrick Browne