Team 4ForFarmers, one of the teams that devised a solution to ForFarmers’ sustainable business problem, was awarded the most points by the jury and won the title of ‘the most promising idea’ of the Sustainable Business Challenge 2020 (SBC).
The winning team was announced in mid-December. In total, fifteen teams of students worked to find innovative solutions to sustainable business problems at the companies Alliander, Engie, Grolsch, Waternet and ForFarmers. Coronavirus added an extra layer of difficulty to the Challenge because everything had to be done online. The quality of the ideas was nevertheless high. It was a thrilling final, during which the jury praised the ForFarmers team for their creativity and out-of-the-box thinking.
The assignment for the ForFarmers teams was to brainstorm how ForFarmers could utilise the energy generated by farmers on their farms in the ForFarmers production process. This was a real brainteaser because the process of manufacturing a pellet is much more complex than it seems.
Now the hectic holiday period is over, Max Dekker, captain of the winning team looks back on the challenge: “We invented a mobile pellet press. The final step in the production of pellets is not carried out in the plant, but on the farmer's land, where we use the renewable energy that is generated on site. Although the ForFarmers jury had doubts about the feasibility, they were very enthusiastic about our original approach to the problem. We thought long and hard about all the shortcomings of our idea. During the final, we were therefore able to respond to all the questions with solid arguments.”
Max found participating in the Challenge an enlightening experience. “It's interesting to immerse yourself in something you are really passionate about. It would be great to wake up tomorrow morning to a Netherlands in which every company uses only renewable energy, but that's unrealistic. The insight that you can take a small step forward by really thinking out of the box was my greatest takeaway from the Challenge.”