Glasgow-based Social Shifters cheers 2021 efforts to help young leaders flourish

Social Shifters, a non-profit organisation based in Glasgow that aims to “enable evolving leaders to create positive change globally”, has hailed its achievements in 2021 – including its launch of a global competition focused on innovation.

It says that via access to masterclasses, networking events, inspiring stories, start-up tools and templates, virtual mentors, and awards, it equips social and environmental entrepreneurs with the skills and experience to bring to life their “world-changing” business ideas.

This year debuted the Global Innovation Challenge, an international competition to mobilise leaders aged 18 to 30 and their business offerings, saying this united a pool of people and organisations motivated by purpose and driven by an entrepreneurial mindset.

The challenge saw social business activity assessed and scored by expert virtual judges, with finalists supported to pitch for financial rewards to accelerate their start-up ideas, with winners announced at a global summit, organised in partnership with the Social Enterprise World Forum.

Marta Uetela, who turns abandoned fishing nets into prosthetics, was one of the Global Innovation Challenge's eight winners. Picture: contributed.

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More than 6,000 young leaders participated, with 1,994 business offerings submitted. “From improving access to critical health services in impoverished communities to protecting marine ecosystems, this challenge, uncovered the critical work undertaken by a global community of Social Shifters,” the Glaswegian organisation stated.

Marta Uetela, the founder of Mozambique-based BioMec, was one of the eight winners. She is building a social enterprise that collects abandoned fishing nets from the sea and turns them into high-performing prosthetics.

She said: “I want BioMec to become the world’s reference point for practical, high-quality and ecological prosthetics, enabling people to experience life without limitations.”

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Social Shifters added that developing countries “struggle to protect themselves against climate change and this business plays a key role in climate justice, equity, and opportunities for the most vulnerable people and communities”.

David Haddow, co-founder of Social Shifters, whose partners include multinational software company SAP, said: “Everything we do is digitally enabled, meaning we can deliver scalable learning opportunities, facilitate mass collaboration, and provide instant expertise to young leaders from every part of the world.

“Young leaders across the world are rising to the challenge – bringing passion, a fresh perspective and solutions to social and environmental challenges.”

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