Big Ideas is an annual contest aimed at providing funding, support, and encouragement to interdisciplinary teams of students who have “big ideas.” Since its founding in 2006, Big Ideas has inspired innovative and high-impact student-led projects aimed at solving problems that matter to this generation.
The contest has since 2006 received over 2,500 proposals from 7,000 students with 50% of these projects transitioning into formally registered ventures.
Makerere University is the only African institution out of twelve participating universities, the others being from the University of California system and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, that takes part in this annual contest. The ResilientAfrica Network (RAN) has continued to nurture the patnership between Mak and Big Ideas by supporting interested innovators and entrepreneurs to tap into the opportunities presented by this contest.
Please click the link below to view the portfolio of Mak teams that have over the years participated in the Big Ideas contest. These include two Grand Prize Finalists; FootMo Kit and The Automated Ambu Bag System, that will join five others in the final pitch competition due to take place in September 2020.
Digital Education is the Future and These Startups Are Here for It
Rarely has the education system been as shaken as in the last 12 months. Years of slow progress towards digitalization and new learning methods have been replaced by mandatory use of long distance communication tools, new testing methods, and a lot of creativity from teachers and parents on how to engage children in learning. With apps and different online tools becoming a part of children’s lives, it is no wonder that the EdTech startup scene has been flourishing.
According to Crunchbase, venture funding for EdTech reached 4.1 billion USD in the first seven months of 2020, which is 1.5 billion USD more than in the same time frame a year before. It is also the highest amount raised in that frame for the past five years. Most of these deals are still for U.S. based companies, with big players like Skillshare and Materclass raising funds in Series D and E, respectively. Some of the biggest deals are also in China, for example Yuanfudao raised a billion USD in Series G and Zuoyebang raised 750 million USD in Series E.
EdTech wins two years in a row
Many emerging markets are still missing the necessary infrastructure and policies working towards keeping children in school though. Due to low income, children are often forced to leave school and work at a very young age. This is why digital education is especially important in these markets. It is often an answer to issues that involve education inaccessibility and high costs, providing an innovative and quality learning environment to children.
How Diversification Helped Switzerland During the Pandemic
It is well known that Switzerland has one of the strongest economies in the world. With the OECD grouping them into the high-income countries and the second highest GDP in the world, even economy newbies know that this small central-European country is synonymous with stability and prosperity.
The business environment is an interesting mix of world-famous companies, top-notch universities and research facilities, SMEs and startups working in a relatively small geographical area. Ranging from medicine, precious metals and gemstones, heavy machinery, to tobacco, chocolate and luxury perfumes and cosmetics, the 310 billion USD exports can compete with countries with more resources and population.
The Swiss economy is based on a highly qualified labour force working in specialized industries, with the main economic activities being pharmaceuticals, machinery, food and financial services. The “land of watches” can boast its high-class motors, generators, turbines and a whole range of other deep tech products. Continuous investments in research and development (about 3 percent of total GDP) has not only diversified the existing industries, but made it one one of the best places to do business.
Ericsson Innovation Awards 2021
As the world becomes increasingly reliant on technology, the digital divide is growing. Economic, geographic, gender and access factors have left vast portions the global population at a severe disadvantage. The causes are many, including lack of infrastructure, resources and the high cost of devices. Your challenge is to identify a digital divide and develop a solution to bridge it.
How to participate
To enter the awards, you must register with a complete entry by August 5, 2021, 13:00 CET (2:00PM EAT).
A ‘complete entry’ means all required questions are answered and you have registered up to four total team members, all of whom are currently enrolled students pursuing a university degree. To qualify, each team member must be pursuing a higher vocational or academic degree (undergraduate, graduate, or doctorate), and graduating on or after the end date of the Semi-finalist period (September 13, 2021).
We strongly encourage you to embrace diversity and inclusiveness by bringing team members from different disciplines, cultures, life experience and skill sets. We’ve found that diverse teams often produce the most inspired ideas.
Entries are allocated into seven regions, depending on where your university is based.
By registering with a complete submission, you will automatically be entered to compete in the regional competition and will be eligible to be considered for the Global Semi-finals.