There has never been a more important time to actively encourage and support the next generation of young leaders, innovators, and entrepreneurs to tackle the world’s most pressing social and environmental issues.
Social Shifters is a non-profit organisation formed to enable evolving leaders to create positive change globally. Through access to masterclasses, networking events, inspiring stories, start-up tools and templates, virtual mentors, and awards. Social Shifters equips social and environmental entrepreneurs with the skills and experience to bring to life their world changing business ideas.
This year, Social Shifters launched The Global Innovation Challenge (GIC), an international competition to mobilise young leaders (18-30 years) and their business solutions. The challenge brought together a pool of people and organisations motivated by purpose and driven by an entrepreneurial mind-set.
The GIC enabled industry professionals and corporate partners such as SThree and Rathbonesto give back and help young leaders to flourish. Contributing as virtual judges, mentors and instructors, these skilled volunteers and mentors have taken the opportunity to put their professional skills to good use. Volunteers and partners come away with new perspectives and business ideas that are channelled back into their organisations.
Lead partner of Social Shifters Global Innovation Challenge, SAP, a multinational software company, and its financial contribution has ensured the support offered by Social Shifters can reach all corners of the world.
Alexandra van der Ploeg, Head of Corporate Social Responsibility, SAP, said:
“SAP has been investing in the social enterprise sector already for a decade and we’re a proud supporter of this incredible challenge. Social Shifters have enabled us to engage our team in a meaningful mentorship programme and all of the amazing ideas we’ve seen inspired and motivated us.
“We have seen such incredible ideas, from driving down significant inequalities, all the way to addressing the imminent threat of climate change. Every participant of the challenge demonstrated how they are already making change in their daily lives.”
During the challenge, social business solutions were assessed and scored by the expert virtual judges, and shortlisted finalists supported to pitch for financial rewards to accelerate their start-up ideas. Finalists are then showcased, and the winners announced at a global summit, organised in partnership with the Social Enterprise World Forum.
Over six thousand young leaders participated with 1,994 business solutions submitted. From improving access to critical health services in impoverished communities to protecting marine ecosystems, this challenge uncovered the critical work undertaken by a global community of Social Shifters.
Marta Uetela, founder of Biomec, based in Mozambique was one of the eight winners. Marta is building a social enterprise that collects abandoned fishing nets from the sea and transforms these harmful plastic residuals into high-performing prosthetics. Developing countries struggle to protect themselves against climate change and this business plays a key role in climate justice, equity, and opportunities for the most vulnerable people and communities.
“I want Biomec to become the world’s reference point for practical, high quality and ecological prosthetics, enabling people to experience life without limitations.”
David Haddow, Co-founder of Social Shifters, said:
“Everything we do is digitally enabled meaning we can deliver scalable learning opportunities, facilitate mass collaboration, and provide instant expertise to young leaders from every part of the world.
“Young leaders across the world are rising to the challenge – bringing passion, a fresh perspective and solutions to social and environmental challenges.”