entrepreneurship

The European Commission launched this week a report which addresses the challenges for the future of Europe regarding innovation and research.

The European Commission event took place in Brussels
The European Commission event took place in Brussels

Over 700 scientists, business leaders and policy makers have gathered this week in Brussels at the conference Research and Innovation – Shaping Our Future, where competitiveness, productivity and value generation were some of the key topics on discussion.

The report, entitled LAB – FAB – APP: Investing in the European Future We Want was initiated by an independent group of leading experts chaired by Pascal Lamy, President Emeritus of the Jacques Delors Institute. The document highlights the idea that part of Europe’s success is due to research and innovation as two thirds of economic growth achieved in the last two decades by industrialised countries are attributed to investments in this area. The document included 11 recommendations that focused on maximising the impact of EU investments in research and innovation in order to increase prosperity and solve the biggest societal challenges on the continent.

Apart from being pretty much focused on policies and research budgeting propositions, the recommendations address some of the Sustainable Development Goals such as education and human rights.

The 11 recommendations for the future of innovation are as follows:

*1. Prioritise research and innovation in the EU while taking them into account in national budgets, with emphasis on a doubling of the budget covering post-2020 EU research and innovation programme

  1. Build a true EU innovation policy that creates future markets

  2. Educate for the future and invest in people who will make the change

  3. Design the EU R&I programme for greater impact

  4. Adopt a mission-oriented, impact-focused approach to address global challenges

  5. Rationalise the EU funding landscape and achieve synergy with structural funds

  6. Simplify further, privilege impact over process

  7. Mobilise and involve citizens

  8. Better align EU and national R&I investment

  9. Make international R&I cooperation a trademark of EU research and innovation

  10. Capture and better communicate impact*

For Carlos Moedas, Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, “Research and Innovation make a big difference to enhancing productivity, boosting competitiveness and tangibly improving our quality of life. Europe is a global scientific powerhouse, but we need to better reap the benefits of this knowledge by turning it into value for the economy and society through innovation.”

Horyou is the Social Network for Social Good, which connects, supports and promotes social initiatives, entrepreneurs, and citizens who help the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals to build a more harmonious and inclusive world. We invite you to Be the Change, Be Horyou!

With a mission statement focusing on childhood cancer support, the Boston-based Richi Foundation has bold objectives via an initiative called Richi Social Entrepreneurs which supports new innovative businesses to generate positive impact in society. Their immersion programs, counselling and sharing of entrepreneurship best practices seek to help shape the future of social innovation. The Horyou blog interviewed Ernest Lara, Executive Director of Richi Social Entrepreneurs.

Richi Immersion Team
Richi Immersion Team

What is Richi Foundation’s mission?

Richi Social Entrepreneurs (RSE) is a Richi Foundation initiative whose mission is to boost startups from around the world that have the potential to generate a substantial positive impact on society, by connecting them with Boston’s innovation key players and helping them take full advantage of this unique innovation ecosystem.

How did The Richi Foundation get started?.

In 2011, the founder’s son, Richi, was diagnosed with an aggressive medulloblastoma. His family, who was living in Spain, brought Richi to Dana Farber, where they literally saved his life. It was then that Richi’s father, Ricardo Garcia, a serial entrepreneur, decided to found the Richi Childhood Cancer Foundation to provide other children with the same opportunity that Richi had. We have built a strategy to raise funds through business units (initiatives) that provide value to society in sectors such as education, innovation & entrepreneurship, and culture. Richi Social Entrepreneurs is one of those initiatives.

You have an immersion program for social entrepreneurs. How does it work?

Our main program at RSE is named Boston Immersion. It is a three-week eye-opening bootcamp in Boston. Startups have the opportunity to embrace best practices from Boston’s unique ecosystem, and to connect and interact with potential clients, investors, strategic partners, and local top notch industry experts who lead them to outstanding synergies.

Social entrepreneurs attend lectures in the immersion program
Social entrepreneurs attending lectures in the immersion program

You have a strong commitment to social entrepreneurship. Can you share some of your projects in this area?

We have worked with very interesting social entrepreneurship projects in our past program editions, which now are RSE Alumni, such as Literates, PIC, and H20 Now. We like to emphasize that, for us, a social entrepreneur is anyone who provides a positive impact to society or environment with his project, being a startup or a traditional for-profit organization. This means that any life sciences or cleantech startup is perfectly eligible to participate in our program.

As a social entrepreneurship supporter and accelerator, what would you say are the biggest challenges for a social entrepreneur?

Generally speaking, for any entrepreneur, some main challenges are: being able to obtain enough deep knowledge about the unmet need the startup wants to address, and finding the correct fit between this unmet need and the value proposition. Additionally, de-risking the project by generating evidences / results to justify that the project is moving towards the right direction is also challenging (partly because of the economic resources needed to prove the assumptions). It’s also essential to convince key stakeholders that they should care about their project (which requires excellent communication skills and strategic focus).

What are the main aspects of a social business you evaluate in order to give it support?

One important thing for us is to make sure that the startup has (or is testing) a business model able to support the organization’s operations and scale globally. Then, we tend to support projects with a high technological or scientific component. And of course, the team is key. It’s key that projects are carried out by complementary teams and supported by experienced sectoral experts.

Entrepreneurs visiting Harvard University
Entrepreneurs visiting Harvard University

How do you see the future of social entrepreneurship?

Every time we see more and more startups trying to provide a positive impact to society or environment with their projects, and this is great. So we think social entrepreneurs will have, every time, more resources and help to boost their businesses.

Horyou connects on its social platform thousands of social entrepreneurs, philanthropists and organizations around the world. In your opinion, what’s the importance of social networks for social entrepreneurship and, particularly, for your work?

Social networks are a great place to learn about new players, resources and influencers. So social networks focused on social entrepreneurs for us is a great tool to meet new projects and stakeholders to collaborate with.

Horyou is the Social Network for Social Good, which connects, supports and promotes social initiatives, entrepreneurs, and citizens who help the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals to build a more harmonious and inclusive world. We invite you to Be the Change, Be Horyou!

What do alternative sources of energy, cooking workshops and a virtual reality device to make people feel like refugees have in common? Cultural innovation and the will to change positively the world we live in. Last month, the Center for Contemporary Culture in Barcelona hosted a round of conferences and a prize for social innovation, gathering specialists in such topics as sustainable cultural management and climate change in a two-day row of interesting debates about the challenges of our times.

Cultural Innovation International Prize
Cultural Innovation International Prize

The pannels started with Laura Pando, an experienced cultural manager who strives to help the cultural sector to adopt more sustainable practices. In the last 10 years, Laura helped museums, music festivals and governments to opt for clean energy solutions, calculate their carbon footprint and develop leadership in the industry. «In a recent poll, we discovered that 50% of people don’t remember ever having a conversation about climate change. Art and culture have a great responsibility on promoting this debate. If we don’t talk about it, it won’t exist in people’s minds», she said.

The following conference was presented by Laura Faye Tenembaum, science senior editor for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab. In a passionate talk, she engaged the audience on the idea that climate change is a «fascinating challenge». «You can’t see countries’ political divisions or boundaries from the space. We’re all facing the climate change and have to work together», she said. Laura warned that the effects of carbon pollution might be invisible on earth but are becoming more visible from space. Climate change, she says, is not a topic of the future. It’s already been happening for decades now and affecting our daily lives. «We need to transform how we live. Society is resistent to change, and has a negative feeling about it. I dare you to face the challenges as exciting”, she concluded.

Laura Faye Tenembaum
Laura Faye Tenembaum

Laura Tenembaum was also a member of the jury for the Cultural Innovation International Prize. In its second edition, the competition gathered 228 projects from 59 countries, mainly developed by young researchers, artists and entrepreneurs. The 10 finalists presented their projects in Barcelona and the winner was The Newton Machine, a battery prototype that stores renewable energy using gravity. The prize also gave an audience award to Neighbourhood Upcycling, a locally based project for plastic recycling that can be replicated to promote circular economy worldwide.

The jury gave a special mention for the project Ode for the Future, which used art, installation, and performances to show the effects of climate change in six geographic spots from Catalonia, Spain. All the projects, though, had the opportunity to be presented to a broader audience and to create an impact – the finalists received feedback from the jury, as well as ideas to put into practice.

The projects were exposed at the Centre of Contemporary Culture in Barcelona
The projects were exposed at the Centre of Contemporary Culture in Barcelona

Click here to read more about the 10 finalists and the Cultural Innovation International Prize. (in Spanish)

Horyou is the Social Network for Social Good, which connects, supports and promotes social initiatives, entrepreneurs, and citizens who help the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals to build a more harmonious and inclusive world. We invite you to Be the Change, Be Horyou!

Facing a challenging scenario with high youth unemployment rate, increasing digitalized economy and need for social development projects, the UNCTAD has launched a campaign to stimulate new generations to become entrepreneurs.

Jack Ma, founder of Alibaba Group, and  UNCTAD Secretary-General Mukhisa Kituyi
Jack Ma, founder of Alibaba Group, and UNCTAD Secretary-General Mukhisa Kituyi

The #e4youth campaign was announced during the 2017 UNCTAD E-commerce week, from 24-28 April, in Geneva. It came at a crucial moment when governments are looking to develop strategies on how to deal with a changing economic and social landscape brought about by the digital economy.

“E-Commerce can unlock new opportunities for young entrepreneurs. Not by accident but from deliberate, targeted acts of inclusion and empowerment”, said UNCTAD Secretary-General Mukhisa Kituyi, adding ” We cannot leave this important generation behind”.

The words of the Secretary-General resonate with the UN Sustainable Development Goals motto: Leave no one behind. According to the International Labour Organization (2016) and Youth Business International, 71 million young people are currently unemployed and the global youth unemployment rate to expected rise by 13% in 2017. #e4youth campaign is a call for the international community to support and enable youth to contribute to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development by creating new businesses, jobs, and digital solutions for the future.

“The digital transformation implies disruptive changes to business models across sectors thereby affecting the nature of jobs and the skills young people need to successfully enter the labour market”, said Dr. Kituyi. “We must create opportunities for the young generation and consider them as partners in all our discussions for a successful implementation of the 2030 Agenda”, added Dr. Kituyi.

The E-Commerce week took place in Geneva
The E-Commerce week took place in Geneva

One of the special guests of the E-Commerce week was Jack Ma, founder and chairman of the Alibaba Group, and UNCTAD’s Special Adviser for Youth Entrepreneurship and Small Business. “Globalization is still the solution, and trade is still the solution for solving job creation in the next 30 years”, said Jack Ma. At the UNCTAD E-Commerce Week, youth agreed that technologies and e-commerce offer the opportunity to chart a new path for globalization and provide huge potential to drive inclusive and sustainable development in a rapidly changing economic environment. “E-Commerce is for young people, it is for small businesses. And I think globalization and trade are the solution for job creation in the next 30 years” said Jack Ma.

During the e-commerce session, young men and women shared experiences and expressed their views on key issues to address in order to allow young people to contribute to and benefit from the digital economy.

#e4youth is linked to the sustainable development goals 1 (poverty), 4 (skills development), 5 (gender equality), 8 (decent work and inclusive economic growth), 9 (industry, innovation, and infrastructure) and 17 (partnerships for development).

Social Good Summit cover

One part of technology, two parts of social innovation, mixed with a generous deal of good intentions and a pinch of thoughtful investments: voilà! We have a recipe for successful social entrepreneurship. Horyou blog is media partner of the Social Good Summit, an impact investment and social innovation event which took place in Geneva on the 6th of October, during which we followed the journey of real-life changemakers and now share their stories!

Organized by Impact Hub in conjunction with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the one-day event was focused on promoting social entrepreneurship and impact investing for the achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Dozens of entrepreneurs, investors, media and organizations shared success stories and inspiration to transform the world into a better place.

The Social Good Summit took place at Impact Hub office, in Geneva
The Social Good Summit took place at Impact Hub office, in Geneva

The opening speech was delivered by Sarah Bel and Maria Luisa Silva, from UNDP who called for the engagement of all actors to pursue the agenda of SDGs. The private sector and innovators are key participants on this social good path as “we will need an incredible amount of innovation in the next 15 years, and that’s exactly what the private sector does better”, said Maria Luisa. Karen Wilson, from the OECD, asked: “Why invest in social innovation? Because it makes good business sense – it is an innovative and increasingly accountable way to diversify portfolios”.

The Summit was then open to the real stories of young and brave finalists of Accelerate 2030, a social impact supporting program which received more than 177 applications from 10 countries. The 5 best projects were presented during the Social Good Summit. There were amazing stories such as Agruppa’s, a Colombian startup who has helped small food shop owners to buy 30% cheaper and be more competitive only by aggregating their demand in a mobile technology solution; or Ignitia’s, a tropical weather forecast company much more accurate and with a strong focus on small farmers from climate change vulnerable areas in Africa.

Agruppa was one of the Accelerate 2030 finalists
Agrippa was one of the Accelerate 2030 finalists
All the entrepreneurs gave a short pitch to the audience and then answered questions about their business models, challenges, potential grey areas and future developments. All of them were looking for investors and shared their prospective plans with a very engaged public.

Many of them face the challenge of maximizing their impact. “Good leadership, quick learning and simple business models are important drivers”, said John Ayliffee, CEO of Swiss Idea Box. Access to talent and to financing are also challenges, according to Krisztina Tora, from the UNLTD, especially in developing countries – difficulties like finding good back office professionals were mentioned by some entrepreneurs during the event. All of the speakers shared a vision for 2030: a world with equal opportunities for all social entrepreneurs, shared business models and markets. Deeper and broader positive impact on society.

Ignitia provides weather forecast for tropical regions
Ignitia provides weather forecast for tropical regions

Investors also had the opportunity to express their views on innovative ventures. Bertrand Gacon, from Lombard Obier bank, sees mainstream investors increasingly accepting the idea of impact investments – he believes entrepreneurs still have to work on liquidity mechanisms to be more attractive. Katherine Millinga, from Schwab Foundation, added that social enterprises should leverage technology, distribution and aggregation solutions to attract more investors.

Aymeric Jung, from Quadia, believes sustainable businesses are a matter of survival. “Impact investing is the new economy”, he said. Ivan Agabekov, from INOKS, explained impact is not a subcategory of investment – according to him, performance and impact should not be excluding.

The Social Good Summit ended with their visions of the future – a more impactful one, with more innovative and profitable social entrepreneurs and a true aim to turn the Sustainable Development Goals into reality. Being a strong supporter of the SDGs, Horyou shares their views and believes that the future lies in social innovation & social good. 2030, here we go!

Written by Vívian Soares

From September 22-24, the University of Central Lancashire Cyprus will be the stage for the 2016 Grand Jury to share their expertise and experience and to select this year´s Winners of the European Youth Award (EYA)

European Youth Award selects innovative projects made by young entrepreneurs
European Youth Award selects innovative projects made by young entrepreneurs

On that occasion, 20 international experts will meet in Larnaca, Cyprus, to select one to three winners in each of the eight European Youth Awards Categories, from a shortlist of 49 digital projects out of 167 submissions from students and entrepreneurs.

“This year again, the European Youth Award offers an outstanding selection of innovative digital projects using digital communication and IT to improve society and tackle pressing challenges. The passion and willingness to drive positive change of these young people is remarkable. The international experts of the Grand Jury will provide their time and expertise to select the best projects in the eight categories for #EYA16“, says Peter Bruck, founder of EYA.

A highlight of the EYA Grand Jury meeting will be the Expert Forum, held on September 23rd and open to the general public. During the Forum, the EYA Grand Jury experts will discuss current challenges for digital entrepreneurship. The Grand Jury and Expert Forum in Cyprus are hosted by the Ministry of Energy, Commerce, Industry and Tourism, the Digital Champion of the Republic of Cyprus and the University of Central Lancashire Cyprus.

The selected one to three best digital projects per category of 2016 will be invited to the winners event, the EYA Festival, which will take place in Graz from November 30 to December 3. During the event, they will present their projects and solutions on stage and have the opportunity to gain knowledge and prime contacts through a special mentorship program lasting from September till December. The dedicated mentors are business personalities like Anna Wypior (SAP, Germany), who will coach the winning teams and provide business know-how, entrepreneurial expertise and experience.

European Youth Award is a Horyou partner with SIGEF 2016.

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