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Ericsson Innovation Awards 2021

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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.

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Innovation

Digital Education is the Future and These Startups Are Here for It

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A user in the Computer Laboratory, Main Library, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda

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 Years of slow progress towards digitalization and new learning methods have been replaced by mandatory use of long distance communication tools, new testing methods, and a lot of creativity from teachers and parents on how to engage children in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.

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How Diversification Helped Switzerland During the Pandemic

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The Swiss flag flies high. Photo credit: Seedstars

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.

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Seedstars World Competition 2020/21 announces Finology as Global Winner of $500K funding

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Seedstars Co-Founders and Co-CEOs Alisée de Tonnac and Pierre-Alain Masson host the online event. Photo credit: Seedstars

Geneva, Switzerland – May 20, 2021: After almost a year-long virtual run, the Seedstars World Competition 2020/21 announced this year’s Global Winner, Malaysian FinTech startup Finology, a startup that enables seamless access to financial products via the use of proprietary technology and digital distribution channels. Finology will receive the grand prize of $500K in equity investment. Watch the Grand Finale replay here: seedsta.rs/SSW20GrandFinale

Since 2013, the Seedstars World Competition has grown to be the largest startup competition in emerging markets, but the unique pandemic situation led to the online transformation of this year’s edition.

Virtually travelling to 94 startup ecosystems across Latin America, Africa, Middle East, Eastern and Central Europe and Asia, the Seedstars team had narrowed down over 5,000 startup applications to the top five startup finalists in the running for the grand prize of up to $500,000 USD in investment.

Each startup took turns pitching to jury members Salman T. Jaffrey, CIO of Wa’ed Ventures, Shannon Kala-yana-mitr, CEO of 5G Catalyst Technologies and Advisor at Gobi partners, and Charlie Graham-Brown, CIO of Seedstars. The five finalists of this year’s competition included startups from five regions:

  • Fulfillment Bridge (Tunisia)- A cloud based global e-commerce logistics platform offering warehousing in 4 continents, fulfillment, shipping, return management and more.
  • Finology (Malaysia)- Finology enables seamless access to financial products via the use of our technology & ready digital distribution channels.
  • Pegasi (Venezuela)- Makes healthcare information accessible, clear and useful for patients, physicians and service providers in the developing world.
  • IMAN (Uzbekistan)- A marketplace that brings together merchants, shoppers, and investors at the point of sale using the principles of Islamic finance.
  • Ladda (Nigeria)- A startup democratizing access to investment for retail investors backed up by financial literacy.

After deliberation, Finology emerged as this year’s Global Winner. Co-Founder and Co-CEO of Seedstars Alisée de Tonnac shared, “Finology showed us a lot of promise in their mission to bridge together financial institutions and individuals by making financial products accessible for everyone. The Seedstars team believes that they will effectively help lead the way forward in the ever increasing digitization of the financial sector. A big congratulations from Seedstars to the Finology team!”

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