• SGN Press release


    Young entrepreneurs share big ideas in national innovation competition


    11 July 2017


    Drone Aid from Longfield Academy were mentored by SGN volunteers

    Young entrepreneurs mentored by SGN have featured in the Solutions for the Planet (S4TP) national finals where they shared their ideas to key challenges affecting our planet.

    Solutions for the Planet is a science, technology engineering and maths (STEM) programme with a focus on sustainability and entrepreneurship. It is delivered in partnership with energy, utility and construction companies, who support teams of students in KS3 to generate solutions or ‘Big Ideas’ to sustainability issues. These Big Ideas are submitted to a competition with semi-finals held at a regional university and finals at the Houses of Parliament in London.

    While ‘Bin it to Win it’, a team of three girls from Pudsey Grangefield School in West Yorkshire, won the 2017 national final – held in the Palace of Westminster on Wednesday 5 July – two of the schools mentored by SGN volunteers also did fantastically well. 

    The Green Musketeers from Greenacre Academy, is a year seven all-boys team from Kent. They were one of the youngest teams in the final and were highly commended for their idea to create a dome full of trees and human friendly animals to raise money to protect jungles. Their mentor is our very own Property and Estates Co-ordinator Jodie Carroll. Jodie said: “Young people, especially women should be introduced to STEM subjects from a young age because they are very important and build the foundations for an interesting and challenging career for both boys and girls. 

    “Working with the students was a fantastic experience because I could watch them all grow as individuals and challenge themselves throughout the process.”

    The Green Musketeers from Greenacre Academy


    Drone Aid, from Longfield Academy, which is also in Kent, was the other SGN-mentored finalist. The team is made up entirely of girls. They suggested a new system, using drones, to allow the emergency services to reach previously inaccessible people that need help.

    ‘Bin it to Win it’ won the final with the brilliant idea to create a rewards-based app and game to encourage young people to recycle. Their teacher, Subject Leader of Business, HSC and Psychology Sarah Boyes, said: “STEM subjects tend to be typically male dominated which is concerning because our current economy is very much STEM based. The jobs of the future and the competitive advantage of the country relies on the future generation being able to innovate and generate ideas faster and of a better quality than other economies. Programmes like this help to ensure that girls are a part of this movement.

    “The girls have developed a really strong sense of self belief, they truly feel that they can go out and conquer the world and intend to do so.”



    The winning team – Bin it to Win it from Pudsey Grangefield School

    Jen Baughan, CEO at Solutions for the Planet, said: “The confidence that the young people have developed and their belief in their ideas is fantastic, and it’s down to the dedication and commitment from them, their immensely supportive teachers and mentors from our partner organisations. The young people demonstrated outstanding entrepreneurship, presentation skills and teamwork that they will carry with them into their future careers.”

    We’ve been working in partnership with S4TP for two years now. Along with partners Tarmac, the Institution of Gas Engineers and Managers (IGEM) and Brammer and Buck and Hickman, our role is to act as business mentors to support and develop students’ ‘Big Ideas’.

    Over 3,400 secondary students from 26 schools across West Yorkshire, West Midlands and the South East joined the Solutions for the Planet ‘Big Ideas’ programme. The programme aims to build innovation partnerships between young people, businesses and communities and get the young people interested in science, technology, mathematics and engineering (STEM) subjects.