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To address the world’s most pressing issues, in 2015 the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) set up Solve, a marketplace for social impact innovation that aims to find incredible tech-based social entrepreneurs all around the world.

After being a member of Solve MIT since 2018, Enel Foundation is stepping up its support to this global crowdsourcing platform to develop innovative ideas, now counting over $1.5 million in prize funding.

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Enel Foundation’s work in depth

The 2020 challenges proposed by MIT Solve tackle Good Jobs & Inclusive Entrepreneurship, to help marginalised populations access and create entrepreneurial opportunities for themselves; Learning for Girls & Women, to ensure quality learning to everyone, everywhere; Sustainable Food Systems, to produce and consume low-carbon, resilient, and nutritious food; and Maternal & Newborn Health, to provide new mothers and newborns the tools to survive and thrive.

Enel Foundation contributed to the definition of the challenges with its expertise in the field of clean energy and is increasing its support to MIT Solve throughout the different phases of the project, which is also addressing the current Health Security & Pandemics emergency with a special challenge to help worldwide communities to prepare for, detect and respond to emerging sanitary threats.

To engage the global Solve community and promote applications for the 2020 Challenges, whose call for solutions ends on 18 June 2020, MIT Solve organises a yearly flagship event to connect and inspire the current and future Solvers.

This year, Enel Foundation was once again actively involved in the annual event Solve at MIT, held digitally on 12 May, featuring GM Chairman and CEO Mary Barra, world-renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma, MIT President L. Rafael Reif, NASA astronaut Cady Coleman, Solver teams in working groups, and many more.

Social entrepreneurs drive sustainability goals

On this occasion, Open Africa Power 2019 alumna Ujunwa Ojemeni co-lead a workshop along with other speakers focusing on the Sustainable Food Systems Challenge, particularly looking at small-scale production and access to inputs for farmers.

Ujunwa, who currently provides Energy and Finance Expertise at the Office of the Commissioner for Energy and Mineral Resources of Lagos State, is passionate about the subject and as part of the Open Africa Power 2019 programme, started to investigate mechanisms to promote Innovative Energy Distribution Models Anchored on Agro-processing working with the existing Agricultural Aggregators in Nigeria.

In addition, Enel Foundation Senior Researcher Carlo Napoli and Luca Seletto from Enel Innovation Hub Boston will join the pool of evaluators of ideas to address the 2020 Global Challenges together with some notable alumni from the Open Africa Power programme.

In particular, Marilyn Bongmo Jaff from Cameroon (2019 Alumni cohort) and Damilola Asaleye from Nigeria (2020 students cohort), from the African Women in Energy Development Initiative (AWEDI Network), will participate as reviewers looking to contribute to select the best ideas of the Learning for Girls and Women challenge, as part of their give-back commitment.

The 2020 Solvers’ teams will ultimately be selected at Solve Challenge Finals by a panel of cross-sector judges during UN General Assembly week in New York City, which will be held on 20 September this year. Enel Foundation’s support to solvers teams will then continue, as it happened in the past editions, mentoring solvers and helping them refine their solutions to maximise the programme’s impact in the world.

Click here to watch all the videos from Virtual Solve at MIT 2020.