On November 28th, the European Youth Award, one of the most important awards supporting young entrepreneurs, will be celebrating its 2018 edition in Graz, Austria, with an event focused on the future of digital technologies. The EYA Festival and Gala will gather digital experts, startups and disruptive project holders to celebrate young talents and join forces for a better world. A long-term Horyou partner, EYA’s project manager Birgit Kolb gave us this interview and talks about social entrepreneurship, digital creativity and the use of information for good.
What is the main purpose of EYA?
Digital technologies are most powerful tools to tackle the social challenges people face every day. EYA’s main purpose is to bring together young people sharing this view. We are the Internet of entrepreneurs who care, and by joining forces, we want to create a better world.
What is the connection between social entrepreneurship and digital creativity?
Powerful technologies should be used wisely to create more freedom and wealth. The European Youth Award celebrates the idea of improving society through new technologies. That may be mobile apps or the Internet of Things, digital communication channels or robots, there is a lot of creativity in the submitted projects. Huge positive impact on society can be achieved with state-of-the-art technology. EYA Winning Projects use digital possibilities in a very smart and creative way; they enrich them with social intention and thereby create awesome solutions to the challenges many people face.
We live in a world where information is key but could also be a threat if not used wisely. How are you approaching this?
EYA Winners are a positive example of using information wisely for a good purpose. We want to motivate and inspire others by putting them on stage. Take for example this year’s winner in the “Active Citizenship” category: Soliguide is a platform providing homeless people and refugees with helpful information and easing their lives. Or Blood Donor, a winner in the Fostering Health category: the app improves the communication between the National Centre for Blood Transfusions and the individual donors to share information if blood is urgently needed. It may be vital that certain informations reach the right target groups in time. These changemakers join the European Youth Award because they want to learn and take part in a community of people sharing that same inspiration.
Please mention some of the most interesting speakers or business cases that will be showcased this year.
The EYA Festival is a reunion of great people. They create a very special atmosphere of togetherness, creativity and fun. Personally, my favorite session is the EYA campfire, when EYA mentors like Belkis Etz and Markus Leitner (SKIDATA), Wolfgang Schaffer (bitmedia), Thomas W. Albrecht (TWA Mentale Innovation GmbH), Karim Taga (Arthur D. Little), Reinhard Mayr (COPA-DATA) and many other experienced business leaders will share their personal stories with the Festival Participants. I am also looking forward to the workshop with Sarah Klein and Eva Verfürth of Tea after Twelve. They will talk about how to counter fake news and drama – a superhot topic. Another highlight will be the workshop “Blockchain for social impact: does it make sense to move your project on blockchain?” conducted by Odeta Iseviciute. On Friday we will conduct for the first time the so-called “EYA Solution Jam”: Companies like Gofore, Mountain Marketing, HEIJAR, rsa SAT, the styrian SFG, the City of Graz and mladiinfo will present real-life business challenges. In a creative and productive process, the Festival participants will try to come up with smart solution concepts and new approaches. This is going to be super-interesting.