The Social Business Challenge

Can your students design a business to help solve an environmental problem?


Planet Earth faces many environmental challenges. They can’t all be solved by charities and governments; businesses have a hugely important role to play.

The Social Business Challenge will inspire your Key Stage 4 or 5 students to rethink how business can operate and how they can drive positive change in society.

Through participation in the challenge pupils will develop enterprise, team work, presentation, creativity, problem solving and sustainability skills.


The challenge will be led by staff from Green Schools Project who will visit your school twice over a two or three-week period. During the first visit the Social Business concept will be introduced and the challenge set.

When we return, students will present their social business ideas and receive feedback to prepare their final submission to our Social Business Challenge judging panel.


Our panel of Social Business leaders will judge entries and pick a winner!

The prize for the winning team is a chance to visit the Houses of Parliament in Westminster and present to a meeting of the Social Enterprise UK All-Party Parliamentary Group!



The day will start with a brief overview and explanation of the basic concept and theory of Social Business. To consolidate the learning students will take part in one or two of the following example activities:

  1. Draw a Social Business Professional – What are his or her skills and values?
  2. Watch this video featuring Muhammed Yunus, discuss the main differences between Social Business and Conventional Business.
  3. Study this Social Business – Work as a team to come up with a marketing slogan.
  4. Compare two courier businesses. One is a conventional business, one is a social business, discuss how they differ. Identify the environmental and social problems are they helping to cause or helping to solve.

To set the Social Business Challenge, Green Schools Project will describe an environmental problem that students can understand and connect with – e.g. local air or noise pollution; dog fouling in a local park; waste collection on intercity trains; biodiversity decline; localised flooding; climate change.

Students will be challenged to come up with a Social Business idea that helps to solve or ease the environmental problem outlined. Students will be given parameters to work within. They will have limits on how much budget their business will have to begin with and a time limit on how quickly they need to repay investors. The Social Business idea they present in Stage 3 and 4 will need to have a name, a defined target audience, an outline budget, a list of staff and a clear explanation of how they will help solve or ease the environmental problem.


Students, in groups of four, design a social business idea to solve the challenge outlined by Green Schools Project.

In their groups, students will go through the following steps:

  1. List the negative consequences of the problem we are trying to solve. List the reasons why you think the problem exists. Discuss what you think is being done. Is it working? Why? Why not? Brainstorm ideas for a product or service that you think could help.
  2. Decide on product or service that your Social Business will run.
  3. Work together to design your product or service and be ready to explain how it works to others.
  4. Explain how you will use your start-up or seed funding in the first 12 months.
  5. You can employ up to 4 members of staff in the first year, what will their roles be?
  6. How will you sell your product or service, who are your customers, how do they find out about you and where can they purchase from?

To end the day, students pitch their social business idea to Green Schools Project and their fellow pupils and receive feedback to help them refine their concept.

Each group will have five minutes to pitch their social business idea. Their presentation will need to focus on the product or service, how it solves or eases the problem and how they will sell it to customers.


Allowing some time for reflection, students finalise their Social Business idea and prepare a PowerPoint presentation or video to present to Green Schools Project during a one-hour follow up session two to three weeks after our first visit.

Green Schools Project will feedback to each group and help them fine tune their pitch to submit it as a video or PowerPoint presentation to Green Schools Project.

This presentation or video will build on the pitch made in stage 4, while also adding in details about how they will spend their seed funding, what their staff team will look like and what they hope to achieve in three years’ time.


All Social Business ideas submitted are judged by a panel of Social Business professionals.

This will be done at a half day meeting with a diverse panel of Social Business professionals. The meeting will be hosted and facilitated by Green Schools Project and feedback will be recorded to be shared with the students.


The winning Social Business idea is pitched by students to members of the Social Enterprise UK All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) at the Houses of Parliament in Westminster, London. July 2018, exact date TBC.


To register your interest for a challenge day or half day for a group of up to 40 students, a follow up workshop and (for the winning group) a visit to the Houses of Parliament to pitch their idea to a group of MPs and Social Enterprise leaders, please send a please send a brief email to or call Morgan Phillips on 07967828063.