Sodexo supports student entrepreneurs to raise mental health awareness

Sodexo Schools and Universities is supporting the next generation of socially-minded leaders as they raise awareness of mental health issues, as part of its platinum partnership with Enactus UK.

Students from Enactus teams across the country were asked to come up with social enterprises aimed at supporting students’ mental health as they transition into university, in an ‘individual topic competition’ sponsored by Sodexo.

Three projects from Salford, Manchester and Loughborough were shortlisted by Sodexo. The teams then presented their social enterprises to members of Sodexo’s Schools and Universities team last month.

The winning team was Enactus University of Salford team, their social enterprise provides mentorship and activities to help build academic and emotional resilience among sixth form students aged 16-18, to help them when they start university.

Tom Laskey, sales and marketing director for Sodexo Schools and Universities, said, “We chose this project topic because it is pertinent to us, as our on-site teams play an important role in supporting students’ health and wellbeing while they’re at university.

“We were really impressed by the ideas presented, and with the entrepreneurial and leadership skills displayed by the team members. While we decided that the project from the University of Salford should be the overall winner, we were so inspired by the three teams that we decided to provide financial support to all of them to help progress their projects.”

The winning team were presented with their trophy by Sodexo Schools and Universities’ CEO, Andrew Wilkinson, at the Enactus UK National Expo in London last week.

As a platinum partner to Enactus Andrew Wilkinson and Sodexo HR director for Schools and Universities, Laura Burgess, were invited to judge the final rounds of the national competition at the two-day Expo which included presentations from Enactus teams at Nottingham, Edinburgh, Exeter and Warwick.

Andrew Wilkinson commented on judging the national competition, “The standard of the projects we heard about at the final in London was exceptional, and it was fascinating to hear how each of the teams had approached the different topics for their social enterprises. Some of the teams focused on projects that are also close to our hearts at Sodexo, such as reducing food waste and eliminating food poverty.

“I was really impressed by the quality of the ideas and the leadership with which they were executed. It was inspiring to see next generation of entrepreneurs developing projects that they are passionate about, and which will improve the quality of lives of people in their communities and across the world.

“It’s really exciting to think that these young people will be bringing their vision, energy and determination to make a difference to the workplace and communities in the near future.”