Christchurch will become the hub for social entrepreneurs over the next three days, with two events taking place to help create tomorrow’s changemakers.

The two day Social Enterprise Challenge 2019 starts today, and on Saturday, a sold out audience at the annual Impact Summit will be treated to inspiring talks from speakers including Crusaders player Tim Bateman, zero waste beauty product founder, Brianne West, and 2019 Young New Zealander of the Year, Kendall Flutey.

This year’s Social Enterprise Challenge, at the University of Canterbury (UC), invites tertiary students to tackle New Zealand’s greenhouse gas emissions through entrepreneurship.

The free event is organised by the University of Canterbury Centre for Entrepreneurship (UCE). It partnered with the Christchurch City Council, which has declared a climate emergency, to create this year’s challenge.

“Climate change is the biggest humanitarian challenge of our generation and innovative business solutions will play a huge role if New Zealand wants to become a leader in tackling the crisis,” UCE Programme Manager Hannah Rhodes says.

“Participants in this year’s challenge will be put into teams to create a social enterprise concept that tackles an aspect of the climate crisis in New Zealand.

“We’re looking for innovative ideas which can have a real impact in reducing New Zealand’s emissions and also work as financially viable businesses.

“Teams will get the support of expert mentors to help them think bigger, and at the end of the two days of refining their idea, they’ll have three minutes to pitch it to judges.”

Not only will participants learn about the climate crisis and social enterprise from industry experts, they’ll also learn how to put together a business pitch as a team, and compete for $2,000 in prize money.

On Saturday, UC will host this year’s UCE Impact Summit: an annual conference featuring inspiring speakers working in social enterprise.

The summit is designed primarily for young people, but is open to anyone with an interest in making an impact, whether that’s personal, community-focused or global.

Hosted in the brand new Haere-roa building, the summit features interactive workshops, world-class speakers, networking, and activities that aim to inspire and energise people on their impact journeys.

The sold out all-day event features, among others, the following speakers this year:

Brianne West: Christchurch-based founder of the world’s first zero waste personal care brand, Ethique, which has prevented the manufacture and disposal of more than 3.4 million plastic containers worldwide.

Tim Bateman: Crusaders player, Māori All Black, owner of Cloud 9 Float Club and O-Studio — a new community-based wellness complex.

Kendall Flutey: 2019 Young New Zealander of the Year, co-founder and CEO of children’s financial education platform Banqer.

Shannon Thompson: Founder and Creative Director of global fashion brand OUT OF COMFORT.

Jason Pemberton: Co-founder of Student Volunteer Army Foundation, social entrepreneur, and Impact Summit 2019 MC.