AUTHOR: Jurga Zilinskiene
DATE: July 5, 2019
Helping #MaketheFuture with Shell’s Start-Up Connect initiative
On Wednesday, 3 June, I attended the Shell #MaketheFuture event here in London. My main purpose in being at the event was to participate in a panel discussion as part of Shell’s inaugural Start-Up Connect session. Start-Up Connect seeks to support low-carbon entrepreneurs in their quest to create sustainable and successful enterprises. The panel I took part in was entitled “Capitalising on Failures”, which brought together past winners of the Shell LiveWIRE and Shell Springboard awards to discuss how to transform ostensible failures into opportunities for business.
Having won the Shell LiveWIRE award back in 2003, and been part of the judging panel in 2016, it was a joy to be back amongst the bright minds and exciting innovations of the programme once again.
“I feel reassured. Reassured that the next generation are more than equipped to take on the global challenges we are all now becoming so acutely aware of. “
What I found most thrilling about the day was how inspired and inspiring those people competing for the prizes were. Each and every one had developed a beautiful concept into something capable of contributing positively to the world at large. These were not businesses trying to make a quick profit, but humans creating real things to tackle very real, global issues.
Ultimately, and fascinatingly, both winners were from the agriculture sector, showing that innovation is thriving exactly where it is most needed.
LettUs Grow is a start-up from Bristol that designs technologies to improve and support indoor farming, thereby enabling the average person to grow their own, sustainable food, and reduce the need to import at great scale, limiting environmental impact.
London-based Farm-Hand, meanwhile, is a company that creates technology solutions to simplify irrigation, empowering local farmers in the face of climate change, water scarcity and falling incomes.
My major takeaway from the day is hard to verbalise; the best way I can think to express it is to say that I feel reassured. Reassured that the next generation are more than equipped to take on the global challenges we are all now becoming so acutely aware of.
I’ve seen it in my sector, in the excellent young colleagues I work with at Guildhawk, but there is something so immediately visible in a flourishing field or homegrown foodstuff – it becomes so easy to see positive improvement at work in the world.
Some days, it’s hard to see how humans will work our way out of the mess we have created, but events like this one (of which we need more, I might add), most certainly renew my faith in our collective future and in the capacity of human beings to adapt, like any good business, to whatever life sends their way.