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  • What is the Future Fellows Experience?
    The Future Fellows Experience is a fun, informative and engaging learning experience, designed to help you explore the knowledge and skills required to become an environmentally conscious entrepreneur, or ‘Ecopreneur’. The experience combines a selection of useful ‘Primers’ on key subjects related to ecopreneurship, a challenge-based learning experience to help you explore your eco-friendly venture ideas, and a number of chances to interact with an expert panel of entrepreneurs with experience in developing positive impact businesses. Want the big picture? Here's a quick explainer of the Future Fellows Experience:
  • What can I learn and what skills might I develop by taking part?
    Through the Future Fellows Experience you can learn some of the foundational knowledge necessary to understand ecopreneurship as a path to creating a positive impact on the planet. Through the Pitch Friendly Challenge you will also get to apply and practise a number of skills essential for ecopreneurship, such as futurecasting, concept research, using canvas tools and systems thinking.
  • What are the Villars Institute & ITZA?
    ITZA is a digital learning company based in Scotland, UK, that helps young learners around the World build the passion, curiosity and competencies necessary for a life rich with independent learning. The Villars Institute, based in Switzerland is a nonprofit foundation dedicated to, amongst other things, developing educational activities that promote biodiversity, planetary health, and sustainable development. Each year they bring a dynamic group of young learners together at The Villars Symposium, along with leading experts across multiple fields, to explore solutions to today’s most pressing environmental challenges.
  • What exactly is an ‘Ecopreneur?
    In short an ‘Ecopreneur’ is an entrepreneur (or venture builder, startup founder) who prioritises planetary health and sustainability as they work to build a profitable business that creates positive impact. To learn more, head over to our Ecopreneur 101!
  • What is the 'Planet-Friendly Pitch' challenge?
    The team at ITZA has devised a challenge-based project that uses customised takes on popular entrepreneurial and design thinking tools. Those tools (or canvases to be more precise) enable a fun, independent project where the participant gets to research, discover and submit a pitch for a sustainable, planet-positive startup concept. Besides feedback from our team of expert guides and an enjoyable, informative learning experience, participants that do particularly well in the challenge will be eligible for a ‘Promising Ecopreneur’ credential, with the five best pitches get the chance to attend The Villars Symposium in Switzerland this summer.
  • Who is eligible to enter the 'Planet-Friendly Pitch Challenge?
    Although the Challenge is aimed at an audience age of 16 to 19, we actively encourage any younger learners with an enthusiasm for entrepreneurship and the environment to participate. Participants from the following countries are able to join this round of The Future Fellows Experience: The United States, Scotland, India, Bhutan, Nepal and Sri Lanka.
  • What are the key dates I should be aware of?
    Whilst we expect to run more Future Fellows Experiences in the future, key dates for the Spring 2024 cohort are as follows: April 1st: The Experience begins! April 11th: The Future Fellows Experience Webinar takes place. April 25th: The Future Fellows Canvas Clinics take place. Students outside the UK April 26th: Deadline for submitting your Futurecast Canvas and Planet-Friendly Canvas for review.* April 29th: Participants receive personalised feedback from the ITZA team on their FutureCast and Planet-Friendly Pitch canvases. May 10th: Final deadline for submitting your Reflect & Inspect Canvas for review. May 13th: Selected participants present their canvases to the ITZA team. May 15th: Promising ecopreneurs and Villars Symposium place winners outside the UK are announced. UK students May 24th: Deadline for submitting your Futurecast Canvas and Planet-Friendly Canvas for review.* May 29th: Participants receive personalised feedback from the ITZA team on their FutureCast and Planet-Friendly Pitch canvases. June 7th: Final deadline for submitting your Reflect & Inspect Canvas for review. June 10th: Promising ecopreneurs and Villars Symposium place winners from the UK are announced. *Deadlines for Futurecast Canvas and Planet-Friendly Canvas to receive feedback on your canvases and be able to improve your overall submission. You can still submit all 3 canvases by the final deadline (May 10th for students outside the UK and June 7th for UK students). Keep an eye on this FAQ for any changes or additions to the dates and events listed.
  • Where can I find the 'Challenge Toolkit' and other helpful resources?
    You can download all of the elements of the ‘Challenge Toolkit’ together in one ZIP file here. Or you can download each of the main canvas tools as a PDF below: The Futurecast Canvas. The Planet-Friendly Pitch Canvas. The Reflect, Inspect & Adapt Canvas.
  • Is the 'Planet-Friendly Pitch Challenge' free to enter?
    Yes! The challenge is 100% free of charge to enter for young learners that meet the eligibility requirements.
  • What is a 'Challenge Canvas'?
    The team at Strategyzer popularised the idea of using a simple, visual 'Canvas' to explore business ideas when they introduced the 'Business Model Canvas' 16 years ago. Since then all manner of intrepid entrepreneurs, problem solvers and design thinkers have used a similar approach to aid their innovation because: 1. They’re simple, structured storytelling: Help you frame your thinking, tell a structured, easy-to-understand story, explore, unpack, and problem-solve an idea in a simple, visual way. 2. They’re fast and adaptable: They're super fast to adapt and change as you pivot from one idea to the next. Fast change is essential in blah. 3. They're a treasure map in the making: When your ideas are laid out in a simple structured manner, it's much easier to spot patterns and connections that give life to your innovative ideas. Print them out, make a mega-copy on a wall with masking tape and post-it notes or use an online whiteboard like Miro or Canva to help unpack your ideas digitally (that last one is our experts favourite!).
  • How can I get the best out of using the Challenge Canvases?
    Getting involved in our Webinar or Canvas Clinic is pretty straightforward. Look out for the Zoom links we'll be sharing on the homepage, specifically under the "Key Dates" section, as the events draw near. The Webinar is scheduled for April 18th, and the Canvas Clinic for April 25th. You'll have the chance to submit your questions early via Slido – we'll ensure those links are also ready for you on our homepage under "Key Dates".
  • What is 'CiCi the Canvas Coach' AI coach, and how do I use it?
    Coming soon.
  • Are there any limits to how I can use 'CiCi'?
    Yes, we’ve imposed a sensible limit on the amount of times each learner can use the Canvas Coach. Whilst our Canvas Coach is super helpful, like other AI tools it uses quite a bit of energy to answer your questions. As an environmentally conscious challenge, we encourage you to use CiCi responsibly, but you can get a great deal of value from CiCi with just a short conversation!
  • How do I submit my Challenge Canvases to ITZA for review?
    When you feel your Canvases are ready for review, it's time to enter your write up of each ‘window’ on the canvas into our online canvas pages. you can find a submission page for each canvas here: Futurecast Canvas | Planet-Friendly Pitch Canvas | Reflect, Inspect & Adapt Canvas Simply enter your canvas story into each of the fields provided and hit ‘Submit’. We’ll keep you updated on what happens next via email after your submission.
  • What happens after I've submitted my Challenge Canvases?
    Once you have submitted your canvases, the ITZA team along with our expert guides, will review each and every entry, in order to give helpful and encouraging feedback to each and every entrant. For the Planet-Friendly Pitch canvases, our expert guides will also select the most promising entries to receive a Promising Ecopreneur credential and for five lucky winners invite them to participate in the June 2024 Villars Symposium in Switzerland.
  • Can I submit as part of a team or only as an individual?
    Whilst we strongly encourage individual entries, you can join forces and work in a team of 2 if you choose (provided both parties meet the eligibility requirements). To submit as a team, submit from one of your accounts only. Make sure to add your partner's email and name on the canvas page so we can evaluate your submission accordingly and keep both of you updated. And remember there’s nothing to stop you from working on your own individual entry, whilst collaborating with another young ecopreneur as you explore and research!
  • Can I make more than one submission?
    No. Whilst you can (and we encourage you to!) complete plenty of iterations of your canvases as you explore, research and seek feedback, we can only accept one final submission per canvas from each entrant.
  • Do I have to submit my canvases, or can I complete the challenge just for kicks?
    Absolutely! Whilst there’s real value in sharing your canvases with us (feedback, credentials, prizes etc.), these tools can be used again and again outside of the challenge timetable as you explore new planet-friendly ideas in the future.
  • What does a good challenge submission look like?
    A good challenge submission is one in which participants clearly demonstrate their dedication to understanding and solving environmental issues through a creative, ecopreneurial idea. What sets apart a superior submission from the rest? Here are some helpful guidelines: In-depth, Independent Research Your submission should reflect that you've engaged in extensive, thoughtful research. This means you've looked beyond surface-level information and delved into the specifics of environmental challenges and solutions, demonstrating a genuine commitment to understanding the issues at hand. Clear Vision of The Future With 'The Futurecast Canvas' You are required to articulate a detailed and meaningful vision of a possible future using 'The Futurecast Canvas'. Your story should show clear logic and imagination in predicting how the future could evolve from the present day. It's important to present a coherent and thought-provoking picture of what lies ahead based on the research and insights you've gathered. Overall Creativity and Impact We value creativity and the potential for real-world impact highly. Your planet-friendly business concept should not only be imaginative but also feel feasible - capable of making a significant positive impact on the environment. It should directly address the future scenario you've described, demonstrating how your solution fits within the envisioned future. Comprehensive Coverage of 'The Planet-Friendly Pitch' Canvas Your submission should thoroughly cover each part of the Planet-Friendly Pitch Canvas. This means completing all sections and ensuring every aspect of your proposed business idea is thoughtfully developed. Everything should be clearly and comprehensively articulated, from who benefits to where your biggest risks lie. Learning and Reflection with 'The Inspect & Reflect Canvas' Utilising the 'Inspect & Reflect Canvas', show us what you've learned through this process and how it would shape your actions and decisions in the future. This reflection is crucial in demonstrating your growth and the depth of your understanding of ecopreneurship and environmental stewardship. Numeracy in Business Planning While we don't expect complex accounting or heavy statistics, demonstrating a basic understanding of the financial aspects of an ecopreneurial venture is essential. You should be able to identify the major costs involved in establishing and operating your business and how it could theoretically turn a profit. The focus should be on showing awareness of the financial sustainability of your planet-friendly business idea over complex mathematics.
  • How are the most promising entries selected, and what do they get?
    Coming soon.
  • What is a 'Promising Ecopreneur' credential?
    The ‘Promising Ecopreneur’ credential is a digital badge, accredited and awarded by ITZA, to those entrants in The Planet-Friendly Pitch challenge who demonstrate a particularly high level of aptitude in the canvases they submit. Each recipient of a ‘Promising Ecopreneur’ credential will receive an email that links them to a digital credential that can be downloaded or shared directly on their social media channels.
  • What is the Villars Symposium?
    Each year The Villars Institute hosts the Villars Symposium in Switzerland during the summer. Here they bring young people committed to solving today’s environmental challenges (They’re the ‘Fellows’), together with experts, educators, and entrepreneurs from around the world to explore solutions to today’s most pressing environmental challenges. If you are one of the lucky participants selected to head to the Symposium this summer, then you’ll get to add your heart, head and voice into the mix with this dynamic group of planet-friendly problem solvers.
  • If I'm selected to attend the Symposium, how will travel, accommodation and other details be organised?
    Each of the lucky entrants selected to attend the Symposium will have their travel and accommodation paid for by ITZA. The cost of an adult chaperone will also be covered, should one be needed. Details of arrangements will be provided directly to the winners and parents / guardians at the time of selection. IMPORTANT: - Student outside the UK will require a visa to travel to Switzerland. - UK students will require a valid passport to travel to Switzerland.
  • What travel documents will I need if I'm a winner?
    Students outside the UK will require a visa to attend the Villars Symposium in Villars-sur-Ollon, Switzerland (25-28 June 2024). ITZA will be sponsoring the visas of the winning participants and can provide additional organisational support if needed, but students will need to ensure their applications are submitted and approved on time. UK students will require a valid passport with at least 6 months before the expiry date to travel to Switzerland. Students will need to ensure their passport application is submitted on time.
  • Who are the Future Fellows experts, and how do they help?
    You can find out everything you need here.
  • How do I get to participate in a Canvas Clinic or Webinar?
  • What if I've missed a webinar?
    You can watch the recorded session of the Webinar held on the 11th of April here.
  • What measures are in place to ensure participant safety and privacy?
    ITZA takes the privacy and safety of the young learners we support very seriously: Privacy Policy: we adhere to strict data protection regulations to safeguard personal information. You can find it here. Secure Platform: Our platform uses encryption and security protocols to ensure all submissions are secure. Coaches Supervision: All webinars and interactive sessions are supervised by experienced professionals who will moderate and ensure a safe and respectful environment. Responsible AI Use: Our AI mentor (CiCi) was carefully trained to provide learning support in a secure framework, and not allow any misconduct. It also does not collect or store any personal information beyond what is necessary for the challenge.
  • Does ITZA have a responsible artificial intelligence policy?
    Yes we do. ITZA takes its responsibility in using machine learning and artificial intelligence in its learning tools very seriously. You can read our artificial intelligence usage policy here.
  • How can I best provide feedback on the Future Fellows Experience?
    First of all we're always grateful for feedback that helps us learn and grow as a team and improve our learning tools! Feel free to send us an email with your feedback.
  • I can't find the help I need; what do I do now?
    No problem. Simply send us an email and we'll see what we can do to help.
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