In April this year, global entrepreneurship platform AdamStart launched an open call for social impact ideas which solve challenges associated with the Coronavirus pandemic.
In association with young people, online networks and platforms such as OpportunityDesk.org, over 1000 applications were received from over 30 countries. A podcast series in Brazil, a medical facility in Togo and testing kits from numerous countries were amongst those ideas which the competition’s judges assessed.
The process was vigorous and several layers of selection ensued. The esteemed judging panel for the competition consisted of:
- Ishmail Dodoo from the office of United Nations Secretary General
- Kaffy, dancer, entrepreneur and founder of K.A.F.F.Y. Foundation in Nigeria
- Peter Baxendell, a former director of global food brands in Unilever
- Frances Trought, an employability and careers expert founder of Everything D&I
- Will Holt, Dean of Pearson Business School in London
- Grace Ihejimaziu, founder of OpportunityDesk.org
- Kathy Eldon, founder of Creative Visions Foundation in Los Angeles
Adam Bradford, a social entrepreneur and Queens Young Leader from Sheffield, set up AdamStart in 2010, aged just 17, to help young entrepreneurs from around the world scale-up socially responsible and innovative ideas. To date, AdamStart has supported over 8,000 young people, in 130 countries, on their business journey. This year, the competition encouraged young people, to tackle coronavirus in their communities, anywhere in the world.
Adam, who is himself stranded in Benin, West Africa – commented: “We received over 1000 entries to this year’s AdamStart COVID-19 Innovation Challenge, spanning talent across the entire globe. The energy and creative thinking has been overwhelming, and our judges undertook a rigorous selection process to decide our five winners.”
Huge congratulations go to the AdamStart COVID-19 Challenge Winners who were announced this morning;
- Juliet Namujju, 23 from Mpiji, Uganda, who launched a sustainable fashion label that transforms the waste crisis in Africa into employment opportunities for disabled tailors. She has invented a line of biodegradable, African-print, face masks with a mouthpiece adaption to help people who rely on lipreading to communicate.
- Patrick Ssremba, 23, Kampala from Uganda, who runs a start-up that offers mobile medical and dental services to communities in Uganda. During the COVID-19 pandemic, he has adapted to offer digital on-demand medical and dental services to rural communities.
- Apoorv Shankar, 29 from Bangalore, India, who invented Hand-Key, a sliding handheld clamp device to help open doors, push buttons on ATM machines and other high-contact public surfaces without having to touch potentially contaminated surfaces.
- Osama Bin Noor, 29 from Dhakar, Bangladesh created a programme to connect young people and their ideas to policymakers, ensuring rural areas of Bangladesh get support during COVID-19.
- Dmytrii Lavrinenko, 27, from Kiev, Ukraine works in the non-profit sector in Kiev and has created an online skills-sharing platform with his friends. It helps those who are disconnected and finding it difficult to gain access to services during the virus outbreak.
Read AdamStart COVID-19 Challenge Winners full profiles here.
“As an entrepreneur who got my start at age 13 through an innovation challenge at my school, I recognise the importance of the competitions like this in fostering the next generation of inventors, entrepreneurs and philanthropists. These young people have some truly brilliant ideas and can really make a difference to the coronavirus response – and the world – with the right support to unlock funding and scale-up.”
The AdamStart COVID-19 Challenge Winners will receive a package of funding, mentorship, an online training programme and a trip to London to visit Pearson College London in January 2021.