Young Entrepreneurs Pitch Tech-Based Solutions to Climate Challenges

Varsha Vijayan participated in the UN Youth Climate Action Summit as a virtual Blogger Fellow for UNA-USA.

Young entrepreneurs around the world put their technical skills to use for social good during the Summer of Solutions Competition organized by the United Nations. Five finalists were selected to pitch their business idea in front of a panel of expert judges from leading tech companies. The pitch competition was held in New York as part of the Youth Climate Action Summit day on September 21, 2019.

Ready to know more about this shark tank event at the UN? Read below.

Participants submitted innovative prototypes, business processes, information and communication tools addressing unmet social needs. Their submissions had to meet three carefully curated themes. The themes tie Climate Challenge to other UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)  as highlighted below:

–         Climate Information Challenge: Providing equal access to localized climate information by developing early warning systems for rural livelihoods, vulnerable population. This relates to climate action (SDG 13) and reducing inequality (SDG 10).

–         Circular Economy Challenge: Supporting minimal use of resource input and minimal creation of waste, pollution, emissions (SDG 12). This enables moving towards zero hunger (SDG 2) and no poverty (SDG 1).

–         Ethical Fashion Challenge: Addressing problems faced by the fashion industry, particularly promoting sustainable practices (SDG 12), innovatively repurposing old materials (SDG 9)Business solutions for circular economy and ethical fashion indirectly support climate action (SDG 13).

The five finalists who represented their teams were –

  1. Project 2 to 3:Mechanical engineering graduate Edgar Mejia gives a new lease of life to single-use plastics by converting these into filaments for 3D printing.
  2. Grow your own cloud:With data being the new oil, it’s time to go organic on data storage! Monika Seyfried has created a nature-based solution to store data in the DNA of plants, providing a sustainable alternative to silicon that emits O2 instead of CO2!
  3. Wikilimo:Anurag Roy’s app crowdsources weather and agricultural data that can be accessed by farmers in rural/ semi-urban settings with online/ offline support.
  4. MiWeather:Brighton Mabasa’s app employs built-in sensors in smartphones to provide weather observations to local farmers.
  5. Sustaina-Story: An app designed by Michelle Han is a database-cum-networking platform for individuals and corporations to track the sustainability of their produced garments.

Wikilimo app was crowned as the winner! Kudos to Anurag Roy & team! If you’re interested in learning  more about other tech competitions organized by the UN, please check out Reboot the Earth.