The UN Major Group for Children and Youth (UNMGCY), in partnership with IEEE Entrepreneurship, organized a workshop at the Global Science, Technology and Innovation Conference (G-STIC) in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, from 11-15 February, which brought together a diverse and enthusiastic group of STEM students. The goal of the workshop was to provide entrepreneurship tools to scientists and engineers, enabling them to assess opportunities, perform financial estimations, pitch their ideas and take inventions to real-life products. The students also received an overview of UNMGCY and the fundamentals of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The partnership between UNMGCY and IEEE Entrepreneurship has been ongoing since 2018, providing invaluable opportunities for the youth group to use their expertise and knowledge in identifying emerging priorities, drawing links between interconnected thematic issues, and devising solutions to address challenges and barriers to progress on addressing sustainable development goals.
For half a decade, UNMGCY and IEEE Entrepreneurship have been partnering on workshops and initiatives to help youth around the world leverage their science and entrepreneurship backgrounds to benefit their regions and countries. This ongoing partnership has created a network of young entrepreneurs who are well-equipped to take on the challenges of sustainable development and make a real difference in their communities. It has proven to be an effective way of opening young leaders’ horizons, allowing student teams to devise solutions that otherwise might have taken years to achieve.
In Rio, the students, who came from Brazil, Colombia, and Peru, were mentored by Ken Stauffer, Surya Raghu, Rodrigo Marques and Susana Lau Hou. Over a period of three days, they developed innovative sustainable technology solutions into business models aimed at addressing the SDGs. In one example, UNMGCY representative, Ona Ambrozaite, put her knowledge of materials chemistry and graphene to assist the team presenting a solution to provide clean water using graphene-based technology.
Front row, left to right: Victor Marques, Rodrigo Marques, Susana Lau Hou, Ken Stauffer, Laura Velasquez Herrera, Surya Raghu, Ona Ambrozaite, Juan Fernando Galindo Jaramillo, Fiorella Montalvo. Second row, left to right: Ailton Pereira, Maria Clara Alves Barros Freire, Marcos Vinicius Peixoto Sotero, Victor Prado, Igor Silva, Kataryne Almeida. Third row, left to right: Fabio Ribeiro, Deborah Gomes Souza, Alessandra Seixas, Wilson Andres Camargo Gomez.
Overall, the workshop was a tremendous success, with students demonstrating their ability to apply entrepreneurship skills to create innovative solutions to real-world problems. This culminated in the selection of three finalist student teams, who presented their projects in front of a panel of judges. The winning team was one that focused on women’s health by developing a technology to detect often overlooked symptoms.
This partnership with IEEE Entrepreneurship is a real catalyzer for UNMGCY to focus even more on the topic of youth innovation in addressing SDGs. The workshops provide a unique opportunity for young leaders, who might otherwise never encounter each other, to collaborate, share ideas and experiences, and learn from experts in the field, while developing innovative solutions to some of the most pressing global challenges.
From left to right: Susana Lau Hou, Surya Raghu, Bruna Considera, (unknown), Danielly Magalhaes, Ken Stauffer, Teresa Simoes, Ona Ambrozaite, Wilson Andres Camargo Gomez, Juan Fernando Galindo Jaramillo, Alessandra Seixas, Rodrigo Marques