Global social innovation round-up #39

Tree curtain will save Mexicans from sandstorms

Yep, you read that right. We get lots of press releases here so the more unusual ones tend to stand out. An 180 km-long section of trees will be planted in order to protect the residents of Mexicali in Baja California, Mexico from something that apparently often blights the area – sandstorms. The initiative has the potential to benefit 700,000 residents.

Governor Vega de Lamadrid of Baja California said: "The windshield of trees will increase the quality of the life of residents of Mexicali, in the near future and for many generations to come."

The trees will be planted with an ingenious ‘plant cocoon’ called a Growboxx that its Dutch inventor says is able to grow plants using 90% less water than traditional methods. Almost as good as the idea is the name of the company that produces them: Groasis.


European Social Innovation Competition reaches final stages

The European Social Innovation Competition has announced ten finalists, whittled down from 1,000 applicants. ‘Integrated Futures’ is the theme of the competition this year and it focuses on ideas which address the challenge of the recent mass movements of people into Europe. 

Josephine Goube, COO of Techfugees sat on the jury that decided the finalists. She commented about the projects that made it onto the shortlist: “They proved that so much can be done to help refugees feel welcomed and thrive in Europe that benefit host communities all at the same time. The 10 finalists give a good insight into what some European citizens have been helping with on the ground instead of waiting on government to take action.” 

Projects include ideas such as equipping refugees with bikes to minimise transport costs and a way of stepping into the shoes of a refugee using virtual reality

The competition is run by the European Commission. Three winners, who will receive €50,000 each to scale up their idea, will be announced in Brussels on 27 October. Pioneers Post reported on last year’s winners here.


Third year of Chivas $1m social enterprise prize opens

Chivas has launched the third year of its competition The Venture to find the best of 'a new generation of extraordinary start-ups that do well by doing good'. Applications will be invited from 32 countries and $1m will be shared between the winners.

Chivas has also released findings from a survey of more than 11,000 people. Three quarters of them (74%) agreed that big business needs to do more to improve social issues in the future. Education and healthcare came out top when respondents were asked which sectors would be influential in changing the world for the better.

The UK winner in last year’s competition, Kenny Ewan from WeFarm, will be speaking about his experience at an event Pioneers Post will be co-hosting with Chivas. The evening discussion, 'Stepping into the Spotlight: how to market your social enterprise for free' will be taking part during Chivas' ‘The Blend’ residency at the Old Truman Brewery in London on Wednesday 26 October. Free tickets are available here

Photo credit: Federico Beccari