Five young entrepreneurs have been named finalists in the latest Verizon/Unloc Young Entrepreneurs Challenge program to attract and empower Europe’s young business leaders of tomorrow.
The challenge, now in its fifth year, tasks youths between the ages of 16 and 25 to devise a tech-led business idea that enriches and benefits the lives of other people and the planet. This year’s top challenge ideas ranged from groundbreaking new sustainable fibers and low-cost green energy provision, to sectors such as agriculture and pharmaceutical health tech.
“Every year this challenge uncovers amazing young talent from across Europe and this year is no exception,” said Sanjiv Gossain, General Manager and Head of EMEA for Verizon Business. “It’s inspiring to see new innovative business concepts in the areas of sustainability and green energy across a diverse range of industries.”
The response to this year’s competition was bigger and more competitive than ever, featuring 130 entries from a broad swath of countries across Europe including the UK, France, Italy, Spain, Hungary, Austria, Belgium, Netherlands, Germany, Ireland, Finland and Greece. These entries were narrowed down to five finalists.
“The sheer standard of entries this year is just simply phenomenal,” said Hayden Taylor, Managing Director of Unloc. “Young people are really showing that they have what it takes to think for themselves, carve their own futures and forge their own enterprises. Shortlisting this year was very, very difficult, our five finalists are all so impressive – it’s going to be a really close competition!”
The five finalists now compete for the grand prize during a live event on March 9, where they will pitch their ideas to a panel of judges that includes former winner Rowan Armstrong, as well as invited guests in business and education. The grand final will be live streamed on Twitter and LinkedIn.
The top winner receives £10,000, mentorship, and a technology support package to help kickstart their business proposal. Each runner-up will receive £1,000 to fund their start-up business, a personalised development plan that focuses on key priorities, as well as access to a series of masterclasses over the next year that will pair the finalists with a variety of industry experts.
World’s Youth for Climate Justice receives Carnegie Peace Prize
This week the international youth organization ‘World’s Youth for Climate Justice’ has been awarded the Youth Carnegie Peace Prize at the Peace Palace. The global youth movement received the prize for its dedicated efforts in fighting climate change by means of international law and for advocating climate justice.
“The link between climate change and peace might not be the first one that comes to mind. However, it is a strong one. Consequences of climate change include an increase in extreme weather events, such as hurricanes, tornadoes, heat waves, more frequent floods, wildfires and drought, that can lead to food insecurity, destruction of land and livelihood, and increased displacement – factors that foster conflict”, said Quint van Velthoven and Marijn Vodegel, from World’s Youth for Climate Justice, during their winner’s speech.
The event took place at the Great Hall of Justice, Hague, Netherlands, normally used as courtroom for the United Nations International Court of Justice, where more than 120 students, diplomats and representatives of international organizations gathered on December, 7th.
Jan van Zanen, mayor of The Hague, the international city of peace and justice, concluded the ceremony by underlining how important it is for young people’s voices to be heard: “Especially on a topic directly related to the future of today’s young people and generations to come. Young people should be at the table, locally, nationally and internationally.”
The Carnegie Foundation, owner and manager of the Peace Palace, and the Youth Peace Initiative award the Youth Carnegie Peace Prize every two years in order to garner best practices from young individuals or youth-led organizations and to put them in the spotlight. The prize recognizes the work of young peacebuilders and aims to encourage others to start their own projects.
San Cristóbal de La Laguna wins 2024 Access City Award
The Spanish city of San Cristóbal de La Laguna has received the 2024 Access City Award, for its comprehensive approach to accessibility and its improvement of the quality of life of people with disabilities.
The city has prioritised the accessibility of persons with disabilities across urban spaces, transportation systems, and social activities.
Some of the improvements in San Cristóbal de La Laguna includes all vehicles and all stations of the city’s tram network being fully accessible. And the city centre has acoustic traffic lights and tactile paving to guide visually impaired people.
In 2021, the municipality launched the Orange Point, a mobile space with resources for inclusive and accessible events. Orange Point provides sign language interpreters, anti-noise systems, and trained staff, as well as easy-to-read materials.
The city’s commitment to accessibility also includes the adoption of an institutional declaration for the defence of the rights of persons with disabilities to promote positive actions in this area. In addition, a disability council and an ombudsman for people with disabilities have been created.
Accessible spaces, both physical and digital, are a crucial first step towards achieving equality. Around 87 million people in the EU have a disability.
The city of Łódź (Poland) was awarded thesecond-place prize for implementing comprehensive standards of accessibility to guide all municipal investments, and the city of Saint-Quentin (France) won the third place for improving accessibility of the city’s public transport network.
EU journalism prize awarded for investigation into migrant boat shipwreck
A Greek, German and British consortium has won the 2023 Daphne Caruana Galizia Prize for investigating the Adriana shipwreck, which left over 600 migrants dead off Pylos in Greece.
The joint investigation by the Greek investigative outlet Solomon, in collaboration with Forensis, the German public broadcaster StrgF/ARD, and the British newspaper The Guardian revealed how the deadliest migrant shipwreck in recent history happened as a result of the actions taken by the Greek Coast Guard. It also reveals inconsistencies in the Greek authorities’ official accounts.
Roberta Metsola, President of the European Parliament, Pina Picierno, Vice-President responsible for the Prize, and Juliane Hielscher, President of the Berlin Press Club and representative of the 28 members of the independent European-wide Jury, participated in the award ceremony held in the Daphne Caruana Galizia Press Room of the European Parliament in Strasbourg.
“Today, as every year, we honour Daphne Caruana Galizia’s memory with a prize that is a powerful reminder of her fight for truth and justice. Journalists around the world continue to be targeted just for doing their job, but they refuse to be silenced. This Parliament stands by their side in this long-standing battle to safeguard press freedom and media pluralism in Europe and beyond”, said Metsola.
When accepting the prize on behalf of the winning consortium, Iliana Papangeli of Solomon said: “The fatal event has forced us to confront questions about so-called European values and where the EU really stands on protecting human life – regardless of passport, ethnicity, race, gender, disability, or class. This joint investigation showed how violent and restrictive EU migration policies are, ultimately leading to a massive loss of life”.
Between 3 May and 31 July 2023, more than 700 journalists from the 27 EU countries submitted their stories for consideration. Twelve of these submissions were shortlisted by the jury before the overall winner was decided.
About the winning story
The investigation took an in-depth look into the events surrounding the loss of the fishing trawler Adriana on 14 June this year some 50 nautical miles off Pylos, in south-western Greece, killing over 600 migrants who had left Libya some days earlier.
Over 20 interviews were made with survivors, and court documents and coastguard sources were looked into. The findings detail missed rescue opportunities and offers of assistance that were ignored, whereas the survivors’ testimonies indicate that it was the attempts by the Greek coastguard to tow the trawler that ultimately caused its sinking. The Greek coastguard denied that it attempted to tow the trawler.
The fateful night was simulated by Forensis using interactive 3D modelling of the trawler thanks to data from the coastguard’s log and testimony of the coast guard vessel’s captain, as well as from flight paths, maritime traffic data, satellite imagery and videos taken by nearby shipping vessels and other sources.
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