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“The sense of anticipation is unreal – you have no idea what to expect.”

Countless pens, bright post-it notes, white flip charts, open laptops – and lots of spirited and creative young adults. At the SEF.NextGen Summer Camp 2021, they put their heads together to come up with ideas that could have a major impact.

Carmen Fusco

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The Swiss Economic Forum (SEF) has been organizing NextGen Camps for the generation of tomorrow, Generation Z, for several years now. At the 2021 Summer Camp, held from 7 to 11 June 2021 in Meiringen (canton of Bern), around 30 spirited young adults from all over Switzerland took up challenges put on by various companies. This included someone from Swiss Post who supports the project as a key partner. Through this initiative, the SEF inspires entrepreneurship in Swiss young people, and lays the foundations for their professional development as entrepreneurs.

Real-life challenges, not imaginary case studies

The people who attend these camps delve into the thrilling world of entrepreneurship by taking on realistic challenges, and they get to share their thoughts with successful start-ups, CEOs and big names from the world of business. Soraya Diethelm, Sorting Manager at the Zürich-Mülligen letter center, was involved in the camp: “The sense of anticipation is unreal. When you apply, you have no idea what to expect. Even during the camp itself you don’t get any agenda that is completely set in stone. You live in the here and now and focus on your current environment. Just like how things are in “real” life and day-to-day business.”

A unique community

As a group of three, Soraya and her team put their minds to one of the challenges: “Even though we didn’t know each other beforehand, we worked brilliantly as a team. And the great thing about it is that everyone involved is connected through LinkedIn. We’ve become a unique community with all sorts of different backgrounds and areas of expertise, and we like exchanging ideas.” Despite not knowing what to expect, Soraya approached the camp with a lot of motivation, curiosity and an open mind: “I knew I could learn a lot of valuable things, be it from colleagues, start-up founders or CEOs. We were challenged for sure, but above all else, we were supported.”

The day always started at 6 a.m.: exercise, breathing exercises and an energizing breakfast. “Throughout the day, the focus was on the challenge at hand. There were also the occasional presentations and discussions with experts, plus feedback sessions.”

Why not be part of the next SEF.NextGen Camp?

The NextGen Winter Camp will be held from 15 to 19 November 2021. Are you open-minded, curious, spirited and unconventional, plus part of Generation Z (born between 1997 and 2003), and very eager to get involved? Then apply now.

Here’s one more tip from Soraya to take away with you: “Keep an open mind and embrace the experience wholeheartedly. It’s well worth it!”

written by

Carmen Fusco