Last night, I judged a business plan competition at Duke University. That's not unusual.
But the unique part was this...
Undergraduate and graduate students across the university were competing to go on to the next level in the international Hult Prize to win $1M.
OK, so that's cool, but why does this matter to Entrepreneurs for Impact?
All business plans -- from 1,500 campuses across 121 countries -- have to focus on "(1) a positive net impact on the environment with every sale completed, dollar earned, and decision made, and (2) a million consumers impacted within a decade."
So why the inspiration?
These students were rockstars relative to where I was at their age.
They were going above and beyond classes, combining environment and business in ways that took me years to learn post-graduation.
Their ideas were exciting.
Hydroponic urban agriculture
High tech to increase crop yields and reduce methane generation from rice fields in India
SMS-enabled market exchanges to turn waste products into fertilizers for niches in Africa
Smart tags that reduced food waste by telling consumers when their meat had gone bad
Apps to help Chinese Millennials to make more environmentally responsible choices and earn credits to exchange for cash-equivalent goods and services
Art exchanges that took trash-enabled creations of beauty to web platforms for monetization and building awareness of waste issues
And, moreover, the Hult Prize website made me aware of statistics suggesting the future leaders will behave differently when it comes to balancing environment, human health, and business.
80% of Millennials are looking for brands which provide solutions to both improve their lives and benefit the larger society
75% of Millennials will purchase more environmentally and socially responsible products among competitors
73% of Millennials are willing to pay more for sustainable products
Maybe instead of looking to those older and more experienced than us for guidance and mentorship, we should sometimes look in the other direction, to those younger than us.