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Virtual event is part of first-ever Global Entrepreneurship Week
Washington, D.C. (Nov. 13, 2008) — To showcase the power of ideas, Global Entrepreneurship Week organizers have created Unleash It!, an online, virtual activity. Innovative thinkers are invited to check out dozens of posted challenges and explore solutions across cultural boundaries at www.unleashingideas.org/unleash.
From South Africa to New Zealand, people around the world are posting challenges, and bright, young minds are unleashing their creative and innovative ideas to find solutions. This crowd-sourcing activity, launched in October, will run through and beyond Global Entrepreneurship Week, Nov. 17 – 23, 2008.
“It is exciting to see cross-cultural collaboration on proposed solutions to the challenges posted,” said Carl Schramm, president and CEO of the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, co-founder of the Week. “This unique activity gives young people an opportunity to look beyond their everyday life and see how they can really impact the world around them.”
With 81 challenges posted, 19 solutions have been provided. Below are five examples of how Unleash It! is tackling real world problems:
The Virtual Vision – Make it Real and Make it Yours
Challenge: Create a new business that uses both 3-D environments and virtual spaces that link up with the real world and very real businesses. This Challenge has two steps. The first step is to submit an elevator pitch of your business idea by Nov. 24. A panel of judges will select up to 20 semifinalists to move to the next step of the Challenge. Semifinalists will then have eight weeks to develop a full business plan. From this group, up to five finalists will be selected to present their business plan to a panel of venture capitalists in spring 2009. This Challenge was posted by IBM, a global sponsor for the Week.
Challenge: 2.4 billion people worldwide are without some form of cooking fuel. This keeps them from being able to prepare their food properly, putting them at risk of diseases. The only fuel many of these people have is wood, which can be made into charcoal. However, burning the wood, and in turn the charcoals, creates smoke, which has led to widespread breathing problems and respiratory infections. Come up with a way to create a clean burning fuel that is widely accessible.
Challenge: Develop and/or commercialize a technology that allows nightclubs and concert venues to use the energy created by hundreds of people on a dance floor to power the venue, drastically reducing its energy demand and carbon footprint.
Creating a New Strain of Corn
Challenge: Develop a strain of corn that can be grown in Upstate New York and have it become a perennial plant, instead of an annual plant, that will produce more ethanol. Each gallon of ethanol produced domestically displaces seven gallons of imported oil. In addition, production of ethanol is energy efficient, in that it yields nearly 25 percent more energy than is used in growing the corn, harvesting and distilling it into ethanol. How would you develop a strain of corn that will produce more ethanol? How would you increase the energy component of the entire plant so that it can be used for ethanol production?
Develop a Market for Shea Butter in Mali, West Africa
Challenge: Most of the women in Mali, West Africa, are living in poverty. However, they are sitting on a potential gold mine. There is an over-abundance of Shea trees that produce the highly desirable Shea butter lotion used in cosmetics. How can we help these women tap into this market and create an international market that is available for women at the grassroots level?
To view all of the Unleash It! challenges and solutions, visit www.unleashingideas.org/unleash
About Global Entrepreneurship Week
With the goal to inspire young people to embrace innovation, imagination and creativity, Global Entrepreneurship Week will encourage youth to think big, turn their ideas into reality, and make their mark. From Nov. 17-23, 2008, millions of young people around the world will join a growing movement to generate new ideas and seek better ways of doing things. Thousands of activities are being planned in more than 75 countries around the world. Global Entrepreneurship Week is: founded by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation and the Make Your Mark campaign; sponsored by NYSE Euronext, IBM and Ernst & Young; and, supported by JA Worldwide, Endeavor, Entrepreneurs’ Organization, DECA, YPO-WPO, National Foundation for Teaching Entrepreneurship, Young Americas Business Trust, YES - European Confederation of Young Entrepreneurs, Department for Business Enterprise & Regulatory Reform, AIESEC, Youth Employment Services, The Prince’s Youth Business International. To view a complete list of participating countries and organizations or to learn more, visit www.unleashingideas.org