Inspiration for next generation of entrepreneurs

An award-winning social enterprise founder hopes a new Sustainability Start-up School will help inspire the next generation of entrepreneurs.

Zakia Moulaoui Guery, CEO of Edinburgh-based Invisible Cities, which trains people affected by homelessness to become walking tour guides, has been speaking to students at Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC).

The Sustainability Start-up School is part of SRUC’s Enterprise Academy, with this year’s cohort involving students from a range of courses including agriculture, horticulture, food security and rural business management from across its Barony, Aberdeen and Edinburgh campuses.

The event began with a series of interactive sessions delivered by the Enterprise Academy: exploring the role of sustainable business in driving change for society and the environment, crafting a personal mission statement, and idea refinement through rapid prototyping.

Students also heard from key ecosystem partners including Business Gateway, Converge and GrowBiz, with each outlining the support they provide for new businesses.

Zakia said, “Speaking to students as part of SRUC’s Sustainability Start-Up school was a great experience. Students were really engaged and asked interesting questions. I wish when I was a student that I’d had the opportunity to speak to entrepreneurs and understand their journeys.”

Students also heard from former SRUC student John Ferguson, Founder of Sisaltech, a sustainable household insulation producer and retailer, and Jackie Brierton, SRUC Entrepreneur in Residence and Chief Executive of GrowBiz, a community-based support organisation for rural businesses.

Dr Carol Langston, Director of the Enterprise Academy said, “SRUC champions sustainability in all aspects, from its operations to education, from research to consultancy, with all parts working together for the benefit of the natural economy. It’s a privilege to be working with such a fantastic group of students. Each carry with them immense potential and the passion required to become changemakers within their communities and beyond.”

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