Social Innovation Relay: Creating a better world
Over the past 3 years a simple idea has been bringing many of the world’s young minds together in an effort to tackle some of the biggest issues facing society today. The Social Innovation Relay, a global competition organized by Junior Achievement in collaboration with HP, challenges secondary school students to develop an innovative business concept addressing a social need in areas like Education, Health, Social Inclusion, Livelihood development and Sustainability.
First launched in 2010, The Social Innovation Relay provides young people with the hands-on skills and entrepreneurial expertise needed to start a successful career through a combination of virtual and face-to-face mentoring by experienced executives. Over the past three years more than 67,000 students and 800 HP mentors from 19 countries have participated in the competition, coming up with ideas to tackle some of the world’s biggest challenges. In 2013, the competition saw nearly 42,000 students/1,600 teams register from around the world. National SIR winners from 18 countries presented their ideas in the live online final, which for the first time, was won by a team from India.
India’s Youth Innovators team, composed of Bisman Deu, Ekambir Singh and Rayvin Thingnam, from Strawberry Field World School, Chandigarh, worked with their HP e-mentor Radhika Chhabria, on their idea of developing a revolutionary, eco-friendly and low cost building material out of rice husk waste. They aim to buy rice husk from farmers and manufacture rice husk boards called ‘Green Wood’, which are sound absorbing, water-proof and economical, thus forming an excellent substitute for wood and reducing deforestation. Green Wood will also prevent pollution as farmers will no longer burn rice husk and instead profit from it, while the availability of low cost building material will lead to more affordable housing, thus reducing homelessness. “We, the youth, are the future of tomorrow, and it is in our hands to make the world a better place”, say this team of three. You can read about their experiences here and watch their video.
The runners-up in the competition were Cyan, from Malaysia, who proposed a solution to battle mosquito-based diseases and Hospitaleiros, from Brazil, who developed a concept for an application for information on medical services in Brazil. All the 3 teams were given HP tablets and the winning team joined the JA-YE Europe 10th Alumni Conference in Tallinn, Estonia in August 2013, where they interacted with over 100 social entrepreneurs from 4 continents and were also featured in a documentary film.
The 2014 Social Innovation Relay has just kicked off and the Youth Innovators are eager to see more teams from India participate in the competition. Their message to other students is “Every generation needs a new revolution, and this time, YOU can be THE Revolution!”
Junior Achievement Worldwide™ (JA) is the world's largest organization dedicated to educating students about work readiness, financial literacy and entrepreneurship, through experiential, hands-on programs. JA India is a member of Junior Achievement Worldwide and since its beginning in 2006, it is already present in more than 250 institutions reaching out to more than 150,000 students in Bangalore, Chennai, Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad and Chandigarh and neighbouring regions. In partnership with businesses and educators, JA brings the real world to students, opening their minds to their potential and providing a proven bridge between education and business. JA programs teach students how they can impact the world around them as individuals, workers and consumers.