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Social innovation celebrated at the 2019 Finale of the Social Innovation Relay

Brussels, 28 June 2019

Three student projects from across Europe won yesterday the 2019 Social Innovation Relay. So-Bikers from Bulgaria, Mon(k)ey$ from the Czech Republic and MNEMON from Greece presented the most innovative ideas with strong societal impact and market potential.


After winning their respective country contests, 11 teams from Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Greece, Hungary, Japan, the Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Singapore, Slovakia and Spain joined an online competition to present their business ideas to a panel of international judges.

This event marked final part of the Social Innovation Relay. The Social Innovation Relay is an innovative programme designed to develop some of the most essential skills of secondary school students, while underscoring the important relationship between business and societal considerations. Participating in the Social Innovation Relay allows young people to think like social entrepreneurs, gives them access to the latest technology and shows them that starting their own business can be a viable career choice.

For the 5th consecutive year, JA Europe and NN Group have partnered through the Social Innovation relay to empower young people to tackle societal challenges. This year’s edition involved more than 10,000 students and more than 200 NN Group volunteers from across 11 countries: Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Greece, Hungary, Japan, the Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Singapore, Slovakia and Spain. The participating teams were paired with NN mentors who connect with the best 20 teams in each participating country, to help them develop concept papers that can translate into feasible business ideas.

“The winners have managed to find solutions to issues which are increasingly burdening our societies. It was fascinating for me as a jury member to see how, at such a young age, these students had managed to grasp the issues at stake and to turn them into concrete and actionable business ideas”, said Monique Pennings – Senior Advisor Community Investment, NN Group

As winners, the team members are invited to attend the first ever global JA Alumni Conference which will take place in Vienna, Austria in August 2019. They will be given the opportunity, together with more than 400 JA Alumni from over 40 countries, to experience keynotes, workshops, panel discussions, Start-Up talks and networking sessions.


About So-Bikers from Bulgaria
“We are Yordan Andreev and Liuboslav Anachkov. We are from Sofia, Bulgaria and we are seventeen years old. Our team is engaged in the production of electric bikes, which are equipped with solar panels. The purpose of this bike is that people can go to work (and not only to work) without a car or public transport. In this way they will help the environment and also save 100 euro per month from fuel for their car. When one is at school or at work the bicycle is parked outside and the sun is charging it. In comparison to other E-Bike manufactures we convert customer’s bike into an electric one and install on it solar panels that charge it. Our service makes the price of the final product lower for the consumers because they do not pay for the bike, but only for its upgrade to an electric one.”

About Mon(k)ey$ from Czech Republic
Mon(k)eys consists of a chip 3D printed key rings with NFC tags. With our keychains people will have a feeling of safety. All the information needed at one place but still, stored safely without any harm to an owner. (Data are not in the keychain itself the keychain is locked and the only things it includes are its unique ID and URL which after scan redirects to a website on which person must prove as a verified with a special password. Only after that, personal information of the owner will show up.)


About MNEMON from Greece
Mnemon created a mnemonic aid, an electronic “friend” that supports people suffering from dementia in the first stages, facilitating their daily lives and promoting their quality of life.
“Our application is not just an idea. It is already operational to a certain extent and we hope to complete it as students. Any obstacles we encountered, mainly technical, did not disappoint us. We worked collectively, read related books and articles, met patients and their carers, asked for help from experts. We owe a great deal to the Greek Association of Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Disorders, our NN mentors and JA Greece, who generously gave us the framework and support to put flesh in our creativity and our will to contribute to the common good.”

About the 2019 SIR jury members
The jury was composed of the following members:
•    Monique Pennings – Senior Advisor Community Investment, NN Group
•    Adrienn Nagy – Chapter Lead of Brand Marketing & Communication, NN Hungary
•    Carolina Gario – Policy Officer, European Commission DG Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs
•    Hilde Skaadel – Administration Manager, Lyk-Z and Daughters
•    Bert D`Hooghe – Policy Director, European Round Table of Industrialists (ERT)

About JA Europe
JA Europe (www.jaeurope.org) is Europe’s largest provider of education programmes for entrepreneurship, work readiness and financial literacy, reaching 3.6 million students in 41 countries in 2017. JA works with the education and business communities as well as governments to provide young people from primary school to university with experiences that build the skills and competences they will need to succeed in a global economy. JA Europe is the European Regional Operating Centre for JA Worldwide®.

About the NN Group
NN is an insurance and investment management company active in more than 18 countries, with a strong presence in a number of European countries and Japan. Our roots lie in the Netherlands, with a rich history that stretches back over more than 170 years. NN offers retirement services, insurance, investments and banking products. Customers range from individuals and small and medium-sized companies to large corporate and institutional investors.

Sophie Norman
JA Europe

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