It’s one thing to have an idea to improve your local community — and another to bring it to life. Even the greatest of brainwaves need a helping hand to come to fruition and, all around the world, schemes are springing up that do exactly that.
In Detroit there’s an interesting community project going on called ‘Soup City’. It’s a simple concept: people turn up to the venue, pay $5 (£3.30) at the door and listen to three or four people pitch an idea to improve the local community. Pitchers can talk for a maximum of four minutes and, to keep things conversational, using PowerPoint is absolutely forbidden. The audience can then ask a maximum of four questions to really get an understanding of the proposal and how it will benefit the community.
With the presentations over, soup (and salad) is served. People mull over the ideas, talk about them and then vote for their favourite. The winner is given all the money taken at the door to fund their plan, with the promise they will come back three months later to report on their progress.
Here in the UK there’s a scheme to aimed at supporting local SME’s by uncovering new ideas and experiences and giving them a chance to succeed. Compass Group UK and Ireland’s ‘The Idea Works!’ programme, gives producers who have fresh and fun ideas the opportunity to pitch their concept to a panel of four judges. Successful products then win the backing they need to be trialled in the wider Eurest community. Recent winning (and delicious) ideas include a sugar-free, high-protein ice cream and a healthier chocolate that contains your daily amount of probiotics.
Ultimately both schemes put what the members think at the heart of all decision-making. It’s about people making choices together to help create a better environment.
If you’d like your local Eurest restaurant to get involved in these trials then please get in touch.