Five UNLEASH+ teams win a total of USD 40,000 in funding for implementation and scaling of their solutions for the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals

This year the global innovation initiative UNLEASH launched the second iteration of the pre-accelerator program UNLEASH+ which is co-hosted by Chemonics International. At the final event, the winners were selected and awarded a total of USD 40,000.

In 2020, all UNLEASH activities were forced to move online due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The pre-accelerator program UNLEASH+ managed to engage more than 50 teams, out of which 25 were selected for the final bootcamp which took place from December 9-12. The teams all consist of people who have previously been part of UNLEASH and are looking to scale and perfect their solutions. Through a six-month program, the teams have been working towards the final pitches which happened on December 13.

“The annual innovation lab is a fantastic catalyst for new ideas. But it is only a start. All the hard work comes when the teams return home and start planning implementation. We consider the UNLEASH+ program as an amazing addition because it helps teams to move on to the next level and create visible impact”, says Chairman of UNLEASH and Carlsberg Foundation, Professor Flemming Besenbacher.


Four organizations provided grants to the most promising solutions


On the final day of the bootcamp the UNLEASH+ Dragons’ Den event took place, where four judges decided which teams, they would like the support. The judges included Jamey Butcher, CEO and President of the program’s Lead Scale Partner, Chemonics International, Anders Holm, Executive Director of the Hempel Foundation, Caroline Bryant, Program manager of Porticus, and Mark Young, Founder of Rational Games Inc. The judges decided to award five teams working on solutions that address the SDGs.

Chemonics International decided to award two teams with a $5000 grant and $5000 in-kind support. Those teams were 123+, which is a Bespoke consulting firm that forms an open-source knowledge and tool repository for LGBTIQ+ advocacy to amplify their efforts, and Inqui-Lab Foundation, a platform for marginalized students to build problem solving skills by applying design thinking methodology.

“Chemonics chose to support two organizations, 123+ and Inqui-Lab Foundation, because their business plans align with our own strategy around inclusion and community engagement. We have a lot to offer in support of their desire to scale and I also believe we can learn from both of them as they continue to support LGBTIQ+ and education causes globally. As we look forward, Chemonics remains committed to UNLEASH and I look forward to our continued involvement!” said Jamey Butcher.

Anders Holm of the Hempel Foundation awarded three teams; Tumutu Pesticide, an all-natural, plant-based product that deters pests in smallholder agricultural systems, Ecobora who are equipping rural marginalized schools with their patented solar powered cook stove and Iburu Coffee which offers small-holder coffee farmers an alternative avenue to earn a consistent and reliable income through coffee production while contributing to climate action. Each team will receive $5000 each from the Hempel Foundation.

“This year again it was very difficult because the quality of all the pitches was so high. This is of course recognition to all teams and at the same time to the qualities of UNLEASH. We were looking for strong teams with great solutions targeting urgent problems. And we were also looking for teams where the grant really could make a difference for them in their strategy. Tumutu Pesticide, Ecobora and Iburu Coffee had all those characteristics”

Caroline Bryant-Bosa of Porticus also gave $5000 to both Tumutu Pesticide and Ecobora. “We decided to award solutions that fit the priorities of Porticus’ Caring for the Earth Sector and chose two teams that work directly on finding solutions for the climate and environment. We wanted to support teams, that we believe could truly have an impact on the SDGs, and I think that Tumutu Pesticide and Ecobora have that potential” said Caroline Bryant-Bosa.

The final winners were picked by Mark Young of Rational Games Inc. who decided to also support 123+ and Inqui-Lab Foundation with $2,500. ”What a privilege to meet and be inspired by these visionary young people, all working to do what they can to change the world.  Bonne continuation to all“, said Mark Young.

Learn more at www.unleash.org/unleash-plus and stay tuned for more news on our next UNLEASH+ in 2021.