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Press Release: These UN Supported Startups are Tackling Climate Change Through Tech

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The Climate Innovation Labs was a fast paced three-day event that brought together selected youth participants, representatives from identified SMEs, as well as climate technology experts within the selected sectors and technology fields in Africa and Asia-Pacific respectively to explore innovative design thinking tools, flexing their entrepreneurial muscles and creating solutions for enhanced climate action. 

The UN Climate Technology Centre and Network (CTCN), that is co-hosted by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), in partnership with SAFEEM and Seedstars hosted the first part of the Climate Innovation Labs in Africa and Asia-Pacific last year. 

Dr. Rose Mwebaza, CTCN Director, shared, “We are very proud of all those almost 800 people from more than 50 countries that were interested to join us at the Climate Innovation Labs. So many inspirational and innovative climate innovators! Also, what an amazing global team of mentors. I would like to thank each of you for working on solutions for enhanced climate action. I strongly believe that the pathway to success is working together.”

Finding promising solutions from Africa and Asia-Pacific

After sifting through nearly 800 applications from both Africa and Asia-Pacific, 212 participants were able to join the first stage of the program where 18 teams per region were created. 

Working with 4 key solution themes involving Energy/ Sustainable Electricity, Food/ Agriculture/ Deforestation, Environment/ Waste Management, and Infrastructure/ Urban Planning, each team identified, built, and pitched their solutions. As encouraged by Cecilie Waagner Falkenstrom, one of the speakers of the program, “Be creative! Push the boundaries of your thinking when it comes to creating these solutions.”

At the end of the pitches, 6 teams from Africa and 7 from Asia-Pacific were selected to continue on and develop their ideas through the Seedstars Climate Innovation Academy. The teams advancing for the Africa region are the following:

  • Community-Based Smart Microgrids – Democratizes clean energy access for better growth
  • RENAF solutions – Leverages the power of communities to bridge renewable the renewable energy access in rural communities across Africa
  • Afri-Carbon Pay – Solves the problem of deforestation land for commercial agriculture by farmers owning woodlands by connecting them to paying offsetters.
  • Agronovate – Built a smart storage system that will eliminate food waste, farmers’ low income and carbon footprint by leveraging on AI, ML, IoT and Cloud Technology.
  • Namanzi – Supports hydroponic greenhouses through crowdfunding. Their platform connects socially & environmentally conscious people with existing Hydroponic Africa Limited who need capital to up-scale their business to reach more rural communities.
  • Simplified Waste – An app for municipal collection routes that uses RFID technology to deploy and track private waste collectors.

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Winners of NextGen East African Innovator Programme

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The team while at Makerere University Research Institute Kabanyolo Smart Hydroponics greenhouse

Four student teams from across East Africa have won a competition seeking innovative solutions to address food-related challenges.

The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) Innovation Hub for Eastern Africa partnered with the Technical University of Denmark’s DTU Skylab FoodLab, the Hult Prize Foundation and the Ministry of Danish Affairs to launch the first NextGen East African Innovators Programme.

Nine teams of student innovators from Kenya, Sudan, Ethiopia, Uganda and Rwanda were selected out of 156 applicants to participate in a virtual bootcamp to further develop their concepts and take part in a culminating pitch competition on 18 March 2021.

Students had the opportunity to work with qualified facilitators and experts to improve their skills in areas such as value proposition, sustainable business development, pitching and fine-tuning their venture concepts.

Four winning teams were selected at the pitch event to take part in a part-virtual, part-in-person programme with the DTU Skylab FoodLab, which is the food systems change lab of the Technical University of Denmark´s innovation hub. The teams are from Ethiopia, Uganda and two from Kenya. One of the Kenyan teams is made up of refugees based in Kakuma who are originally from South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Participants in the programme will receive virtual mentoring and take part in inspirational lectures in preparation for a month-long trip to DTU focusing on intensive prototyping and research. When they return home, they will continue to interact with DTU staff virtually and exchange ideas with DTU Skylab FoodLab students.

They will also be able to connect with Skylab Experts and DTU’s strong global network of innovators and entrepreneurs. DTU National Food Institute will also be a partner in the activities and will provide scientific support and access to facilities during the programme.

“I believe that this collaboration will provide the winners of the NextGen with the possibility of living a full DTU experience and bringing back to their regions relevant knowledge that can be shared with other team members and among other fellow innovators,” said Roberto Flore, head of the DTU Skylab FoodLab.

“This is also a fantastic opportunity for the DTU Skylab FoodLab community to connect and exchange ideas with a group of bright innovators such as the winners of the NextGen East African Innovators Programme. I believe this kind of interaction will immensely enrich our DTU students,” Flore added.

The winning teams are:

Tripple P (Kenya)

Tripple P is a social enterprise dedicated to providing eco-friendly and affordable fertilizer and feed made from soldier fly larvae.

Quote on winning:

“WFP Next Gen Innovators brings together the greatest innovators in the region. We are humbled to have won in a pool of such incredible talent. We are also very excited and can’t wait for the start of a hopefully long relationship with DTU Skylab FoodLab and the continuation of the relationship with the WFP Regional Bureau for Eastern Africa.”

Team Contact Person

Gloria Cherono (Team lead)

Kenyatta University

AgriOT (Uganda)

An AI-Based greenhouse system using Internet of Things technology capable of delivering quality produce by controlling unpredictable weather conditions to ensure sufficient and consistent food production throughout the year.

Quote on winning:

” Winning is not just about being the first. It’s about working harder every day, building one another and constantly improving ourselves to be better than the day before, and being part of WFP innovation hub helped us achieve these goals. It has been an awesome experience interacting with other participants and hope we can inspire other innovators to join the hub to help improve their ideas and transform their communities and Africa as a whole.”

Team Contact Person

Derrick Locha

Makerere University

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Innovation

IsDB Transform Fund: Call For Innovation 2021

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IsDB Transform Fund: Call For Innovation 2021

The Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) invites applications

Transform Fund

4th Call for Innovation 2021

Building Resilience through Innovation in response to the COVID-19 Pandemic

The COVID-19 global pandemic has been ongoing for over one year, resulting in loss and negative socio-economic impact on our Member Countries. Small businesses and Poor communities have been hit the hardest and require additional attention. With lessons from the pandemic, we can now imagine and create innovative pathways to recovery for a more resilient and prosperous future, by generating more jobs and better health outcomes.  Innovation can change the way affected communities interact and interface with the world to ease the challenges and restrictions caused by the pandemic. Hence it’s crucial to crowdsource and support innovative ideas and inventions that address important needs.

The IsDB has a longstanding commitment to harnessing the power of Science, Technology, and Innovation (STI) to help solve the global development challenges. Our US $500 million Transform Fund, launched in 2018, invests in testing early-stage innovative ideas and in scaling innovation by providing seed money for innovators, entrepreneurs, startups, SMEs, and institutions. We provide needed initial funding or growth capital to develop and commercialize innovations that will generate economic and social impact.

We are pleased to announce the Transform Fund Call for Innovation 2021 will focus entirely on supporting our Member Countries response to recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic with the aim of building a stronger, more resilient, and prosperous future. Open for application submission from 1 April 2021 – 31 May 2021, the Call for Innovation will identify, encourage, and reward innovative, high impact proposals that support the following SDGs: 2-Zero Hunger, 3-Good Health and Well-being, 4-Quality Education, 6-Clean Water and Sanitation, 7-Affordable and Clean Energy and 9-Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure.

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Innovation

Call For Applications: MIT Solve – 2021 Elevate Prize

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PhD Students attend a training course in Scholarly writing and Communication Skills in the Main Library, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda on 19th August 2019.

Prize Overview

The Elevate Prize annually awards $5 million in prize funding and services to a radically diverse group of 10 leaders who are tackling the most urgent issues of our time around the world.

The Elevate Prize’s mission is to dramatically amplify the impact of innovators, activists and problem-solvers. Together, we can build a powerful platform to mobilize communities, catalyze positive change and awaken the hero in all of us – at a time when it’s never been more needed.

In an age where an idea can go global at the speed of a text, there’s more opportunity than ever before to reach further, mobilize diverse communities, and amplify impact. Here’s how the Elevate Prize can help you do just that:

  • MONEY. A minimum of $300,000 (USD) shared between you and your organization, so you can drive change.
  • AMPLIFICATION. Our strategic marketing and media expertise can take you to the next level. Be a social impact influencer. Find your fans. Build a platform. Think bigger. Do great things. Change the world.
  • MENTORSHIP. Our network of partners, executives and decision-makers offer the kind of professional development and business guidance money can’t buy.
  • CONNECTIONS. Each cohort is a radically diverse group of people leading innovative organizations. As a member of this cohort,  you will have the opportunity to learn from each other, create shared experiences, and build lasting relationships. 
  • SUPPORT. Get the most out of your win. We take the time to thoroughly understand your needs as an individual and organization then create a tailored program that will help you reach your goals and beyond. 

10 winners. 1 goal: To change the world.

Deadline to Submit: May 5, 2021

For any questions about the Elevate Prize, please email: help@solve.mit.edu

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