LATAM4WEF Innovations Programme // Article Series No. 1: Successful applicants start innovations programme
Bringing together SMEs and youth innovators that are aware of challenging realities in local communities, LATAM4WEF provides a collaborative space for participants to co-design and co-develop solutions that could help address water, energy, and food security (WEF) challenges in Latin America and the Caribbean. The innovations programme recently kicked off with the Innovations Labs.
In partnership with GIZ, SAFEEM, and Nexus, LATAM4WEF aims to solve the most pressing threats to our planet through developing technology and harnessing the power of impactful home-grown solutions. Bringing together SMEs and youth innovators that are aware of challenging realities in local communities, LATAM4WEF provides a collaborative space for participants in ideating, validating, and scaling their technology solutions for WEF use, mitigation, and adaptation across Latin America and the Caribbean, but especially in targeted countries: México, Colombia, Ecuador, Bolivia & Perú. Supported by private sector experts, entrepreneurs, and innovation facilitators, the participants of LATAM4WEF are challenged to think outside of the box and co-create solutions and business ideas.
The Innovations Programme is already underway!
Selection of applicants
Twenty-two SMEs in the LATAM region have already been selected based on the following criteria:
- Full legal registration according to local authorities and kind of business;
- At least 2 years of operations;
- At least 50 direct employees;
- The main business is in Agriculture, AgriTech, Water/Sanitization, Food Production/Distribution, Energy Supply Chain, Alternative Energy, and/or Water, Energy, and Food Security related;
- Experience implementing/participating in sustainability projects around WEF;
- The commitment to participating in mentoring 1 team with one internal expert (Optional); and,
- Has a WEF challenge that wants to be solved
The selected youth innovators and SMEs participated in the LATAM4WEF Innovations Labs.
The WEF Innovation Labs lasted 2.5 days during which time all teams were introduced to the entrepreneurial mindset, basic techniques of entrepreneurship, and a specific theme giving the basis to solve WEF Nexus challenges. This provided a unique opportunity for participants to demonstrate their knowledge, problem-solving skills, and creativity while co-creating and networking with peers and experts in the field.
The Labs followed a rhythm of theory followed by an action session allowing participants to put into practice what they were taught. Sessions included ideation, lean canvas, hypothesis testing, MVP development, and pitching. At the end of the programme, the teams presented the business pitch and product mock-up they have developed during the programme to the group and jury panel.
The following five teams (listed alphabetically) were selected to move forward in the Programme:
- FWF (Future with Flies)
- Proyecto Nace
From here, selected participants will move on to the Academy Programme, a 6-8 week-long programme to support young talent by transferring the necessary skills for an entrepreneurial career path and providing hands-on support in launching their verified ideas and iterating their products as progress, so that they can pursue the ventures. The Academy includes theoretical training but is largely mentorship-driven to support each specific project's needs.
LATAM4WEF ends with the selection of the top 3 participants who will be awarded free flights into the Matchmaking and Demo Day onsite event in March 2023 in Mexico City, Mexico. Finalists will be able to pitch their solutions and get the chance to interact with regional industry players, ecosystem enablers, and investors. Such encounters give participants a chance to increase their network and business opportunities as well as their visibility.
Stay tuned for the next update on the Programme and the participating teams!
- Call for Applications // LATAM4WEF launches search for youth innovators and SMEs solving the regions’ water, energy, and food security issues
- Nexus Regional Dialogue in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC)
- Nexus Regional Dialogues Programme LAC // Nexus Dialogue: United to face water, energy and food crises.
- Nexus Blog // MOOC on Introduction to the Nexus in Latin America and the Caribbean