Blog Post

Venturefest 2017 – What five “ambitious nerds” can achieve

I was introduced to this fantastic opportunity by the Social Mobility Foundation. I was drawn in by the fact that it mentioned “innovation” and “future of energy”, and thought that it was the perfect opportunity for me, as young people don’t usually play a big part in environmental discussion. Being both a science and art enthusiast, I believed that I could contribute to an innovative and pragmatic idea. It absolutely met my expectations!

Everyone was extremely passionate about making a difference to the energy problem and had so much fun while coming up with the ideas. We received plenty of encouragement and useful guidance from the staff from Young Scot and the Makers too!

I loved watching all the teams pitch – it made me realise how team work really makes the dream work, and that young people can often be more innovative than adults. The ideas and pitches were so well put forward that I imagined a way in which each and every one of them could be applied to real life.

Since our team’s idea was a complete overhaul of the sewage system, we had to do quite a lot of research and reading on the topic. “30% of all the energy in the world ends up in the sewers” – we used this as a starting point and found out that this includes vast amounts of wasted heat and kinetic energy that could be utilised. I also learned that even the inclusion of a small device such as the Peltier tile triggered by waste energy can generate tremendous amounts of electricity which would otherwise be lost.

It is so important for young people to be aware of this because we are in an age of huge climate change threats with the forecast of ever worsening conditions in the near future. We want to make sure that our energy use has minimal impact on the environment as possible, whether that is making use of waste energy, reducing energy use or looking at more renewable options. What we do now impacts our future greatly and we should make sure that it is what we want it to be.

The Makers were a great help as they gave us professional advice about pitching and the pragmatism of our idea. They gave suggestions about simplifying our idea, and how to present  it with clarity.

The announcement of the finalists was tremendously nerve-wracking especially because all the teams had such great ideas. When we were eventually announced finalists, it felt amazing! We were all really excited about Venturefest and started preparation on that very night.

When we were crowned winners, we all couldn’t believe it! To have won VentureJam 2017 was such a great experience and it was an immense boost in confidence to know that we have made our idea a success: that something five “ambitious nerds”– as we humorously claimed in our pitch –  came up with could change the future of Scottish energy for the better.

VentureJam is an amazing opportunity that welcomes an extremely diverse range of interests and talents, from the Sciences to the Arts. Not only will VentureJam develop your existing set of skills, it is also an incredibly fun weekend where you will meet so many people who, like you and I, want to make a positive impact in the world.”

This blog post is by Susan Chen, 17 from  Glasgow.