Next week, five social ventures from around the world—ranging in diversity from insect farming in Mali, to cloud-based education in Armenia, to recyclable furniture in Colombia—will meet in Switzerland for an important next step in their entrepreneurial journey. They are the finalists of Accelerate2030, a global Impact Hub program initiated by Impact Hub Geneva in partnership with the UNDP, with the mission to leverage the potential of impact-driven entrepreneurs working toward the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and support the scaling of their impact internationally.
Santu Boëthius, Impact Hub Geneva Co-Founder, explained that she was looking for a way to connect the dense concentration of international development organizations, multinational corporations, and impact investors in her city to the global Impact Hub community. “We are the world’s biggest bottom-up network of entrepreneurs working on the SDGs…how do we bring in the innovators, the doers, the makers to the global ecosystem around the sustainable development agenda?”
The answer was Accelerate2030. This year’s first edition received 177 applications from 10 participating countries across four continents. Local Impact Hubs Yerevan (Armenia), Bogota (Colombia), Accra (Ghana), Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia), Bamako (Mali), Manila (The Philippines), Khartoum (Sudan), Caracas (Venezuela), Moscow (Russia), Sao Paolo and Recife (Brazil) led national juries that selected the top ventures from their wider communities. An international jury in Geneva—comprised of a panel of experts from the UNDP, the UNECE, Codethic, the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship, and Impact Hub Geneva—then narrowed the pool of 29 nominees down to five finalists. “With the Impact Hub network,” Santu noted, “we have people on the ground who understand their communities and know the good ventures. They can choose the best ones before we make any decisions in Geneva—the opposite of the typical top-down approach.”
Ventures were judged on criteria including the relevance of their work to the SDGs, a proven business model, and potential for global scaling. They did not have to be Impact Hub members to apply. Join us in welcoming the following five finalists to the global Impact Hub community!
1. AGRUPPA (COLOMBIA)
Mom-and-pop shops in low-income neighborhoods are they key to nutrition for millions in Latin America, selling 70% of the food consumed in Colombia alone. However, they lack the capacity to buy in bulk and struggle to build up stock. Agruppa uses mobile technology to create a virtual buying group for small shop owners and deliver over four tons of farm-fresh fruits and vegetables daily. By improving access to affordable produce for all, end consumers save up to 8% and Mom-and-pop shops spend less time and money on transport, gain access to wholesale prices, and enjoy a better quality of life.
2. DASARAN EDUCATIONAL PROGRAM (ARMENIA)
Armenia's first comprehensive e-learning portal currently calls around 1 million students, teachers, principals and policymakers registered users. Dasaran Educational Program integrates technology and gamification with educational modules to provide equal access to education. By uniting all the public schools in the country under a single online platform, the program bridges the learning and technology divide between remote regions and cities as well as contributes to extensive education reform. Armenia has seen increased levels of intrinsic motivation for learning as a result. Averages of a 13% improvement in performance and a 22% reduction in truancy have been recorded.
3. DISECLAR (COLOMBIA)
Where others see garbage, Diseclar sees furniture. CEO Juan Nicolas Suarez wanted to do something about plastic waste after observing soft drink production as an industrial engineer. His innovative manufacturing process transforms plastic and agro-industrial waste into sustainable, stylish furniture and architecture finishes while consuming 85% less energy. Products look and feel like real wood but save the lives of more than 5,000 trees annually.
4. IGNITIA (GHANA)
Global weather models fail to provide accurate forecasts for the tropics, a region home to nearly two billion farmers whose livelihoods depend weather. Ignitia developed the first highly-accurate tropical weather forecasting model using GPS-specific forecasts that are twice as accurate as existing models. They send daily, monthly, and seasonal forecasts via SMS, helping farmers reduce risk and increase their yields. More than 90,000 farmers from five countries in West Africa have subscribed to date.
5. ProtERA (MALI)
One quarter of the world's ocean fish and 30% of the global grain supply are used to produce animal feed. With the help of an amazing insect, ProtERA has found an alternative to resource-intensive fish and soybean meals: black soldier fly larvae. Insect meal provides a sustainable protein feed for poultry and fish, diverting more food from animal to human consumption. Every ton of ProtERA's black solider fly meal used in place of fish meal saves one ton of ocean fish. As a substitute to soybean meal, it reduces land, water, pesticide, and fertilizer use as well as GHG emissions. The flies recycle food waste by feeding on compost, the leftovers of which ProtERA sells as organic fertilizer. They also produce fat content that can be extracted as an oil with the same properties and biodiesel.
"We’re building a roadmap on how to grow and scale these entrepreneurs’ impact internationally,” Santu described. Finalists will come to Geneva to take part in a tailor-made program of scaling-up clinics, advice from strategic peers, and one-to-one meetings with leaders in the field, investors, and UN organization members in addition to attending the Social Good Summit on October 6th. After the ‘bootcamp,’ Dalberg, Boston Consulting Group, the International Trade Center, and others will offer expertise to each venture as part of a continued support program by Impact Hub and partners.
Future Accelerate2030 initiatives will be open to new partnerships as well as more Impact Hubs on more continents. If you are interested in partnering with Accelerate2030 as Impact Hub or another organization, please contact Santu at email@example.com.
Don’t forget to follow the excitement at the first edition of Accelerate2030 through #Accelerate2030 and #SGSGeneva as well as Impact Hub Geneva's latest Facebook posts. Or, catch the next best thing to being at the Social Good Summit yourself: a Periscope livestream on the UNDP Geneva Twitter page, starting at 14:45 CET on October 6!