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Using innovation and creativity to address community needs

Our innovation camp brought new people together to think up new creative ways of addressing social issues within different communities across Italy. This was a great experience, because I had the opportunity to work as part of a diverse team and gain invaluable insights from experienced business mentors. The business volunteers and the team at Junior Achievement (JA) impressed me a lot with their helpful attitude and willingness to offer advice and support. It was incredible to discover how many ideas a group of motivated young people could develop in such a short amount of time – very inspiring! 

The challenge itself was great, as it required us to create a product or a service that addressed a social problem within our communities with a capital of up to 1000 euros. My team and I chose to develop a service that would collect food nearing its expiration date from supermarkets or canteens and delivered it to the homeless and various local charities. By doing this supermarkets and canteens would not only save money by eliminating the exhaustive procedure of disposing of excess food, but they would also address a social need and help feed the surrounding homeless communities.

The Barclays volunteers that mentored our team really helped me understand how banks work and can contribute to the development of local communities. Moreover they gave my team and I lot of suggestions to help grow our service, making it more effective and organised. Being encouraged to continue and pursue our idea by each volunteer made us feel great, and really helped us grow our confidence that one day we could indeed start a business or social enterprise.

I definitely recommend this experience to all students, regardless of what they choose to study or do later in life. This is an extremely useful programme as you learn to work with new people as a team, and have the opportunity to use and improve your skills in an exciting environment. Experiences like these help you grow and learn to accept different points of view.

“There is nothing better than a competition to push you to your best.”

This particular quote matches how I feel about my experience at JA’s Innovation Camp. If you have the opportunity to join this project, don’t hesitate: do it! 

Written by Guilherme Martins, a student from JA Italy.

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