Farm491, the new agritech enterprise and incubation hub at the RAU, held its own Agritech Innovation Awards earlier this week (6 December) to celebrate member success.
RAU showcased as best practice for environmental sustainability, in recent Guild HE report
The Royal Agricultural University (RAU) has been showcased by Guild HE in their recent report on Active Citizenship, as a best practice example of Environmental Sustainability. The case study shows how the RAU develops students’ sustainability skills through entrepreneurship.
The Active Citizenship report demonstrates how students are being supported to engage with wider society, through initiatives such as volunteering, democratic engagement, community work, and global citizenship.
The Enterprise and Entrepreneurship Programme (EEP) encourages students to develop their business or social enterprise through the ‘Think it’, ‘Try it’, ‘Launch it’, ‘Grow it’ process. Budding entrepreneurs gain support at all levels – from generating ideas, to trying out the concept, to launching, and then growing their business.
Sustainability is becoming an increasingly important part of any business and can offer unique opportunities for growth, so the EEP has worked with the University’s sustainability team to integrate this. As well as including topics such as corporate sustainability reporting, supply chain management and ethical leadership in its business degrees, the EEP offers a chance to put the theory into practice. This has included activities such as the Climate Week Challenge, where students were given an hour to come up with an innovative business idea to tackle climate change, whilst being financially viable. The RAU also ensured that its annual Grand Idea business planning competition included a sustainability criterion worth 5% of the overall marks.
The EEP has seen student uptake of start-up support substantially increase from 49 students in 2013/14 to 93 in 2014/15. Further to this, over 70 professional meetings (legal, accountancy or sector specific) were held, all of which were fully booked. Twenty students also worked with an external business mentor, and nine of these went on to start up their business. Most of these businesses incorporated an environmental or social sustainability aspect.