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25 August 2020

BeChangeMaker 2020 – top 15 teams focused on improving the world

BeChangeMaker 2020 (BCM2020) has entered the last leg with 15 teams now heading for the finishing line to be chosen as the top 5 teams for the final pitch.

What has been a record year for entrants sees an intriguing selection of brilliant and innovative ideas from young entrepreneurs across the world.

They include projects to fight racial discrimination, supporting mental health, and developing new ways to produce eco-friendly energy. Nearly 800 young social entrepreneurs from 100 countries crossed the starting line when BeChangeMaker 2020 was launched earlier this year.

Over the past months the top 30 teams have gone through intensive training and coaching to develop new skills and refine their ideas by mentors from the HP Foundation, and with backing from WorldSkills International.

At the end of this stage, 15 teams have been selected to go forward, hoping to be among the final five who will pitch their ideas live virtually to judges and come out as this year’s winner.

The top 15 teams come from Costa Rica, Pakistan, Philippines, Taiwan, Indonesia, Cameroon, Spain, Oman, Hong Kong, Colombia, Denmark, Spain, Australia, and an international collaboration of the US, France and India.

BeChangeMaker offers free online coaching and training to build social businesses, with the winning teams also receiving financial aid as well as further mentoring.

Meet some of the BeChangeMaker 2020 teams:

City Cows from Hong Kong was created by two Champions from Graphic Design and Restaurant Service, who were inspired by the unique gifts of handicrafts that were given to them by fellow Champions from around the world at WorldSkills Kazan 2019. The experience made them realize that many countries where these handicrafts come from do not provide enough decent job opportunities to the skilled workers.

Their vision is to promote handicrafts with strong regional features around the world, and increase job opportunities in poor areas, improving people’s mental health, and connecting the world with beautiful crafts.

Team member Peggy Yu says, “we have always been very concerned about poverty in the world, especially poverty caused by the lack of job opportunities or market monopolies.”

“Once we started to know more about handicrafts, we found out that making handicrafts is good for releasing stress and alleviating mental illnesses.”

“We started the idea of having an online shopping platform that sells hand-made goods, to hopefully improve poverty and mental health problems in different countries.”

A-Z Just The Facts from Australia is the idea of two friends, Andrew Richards and Zoe Adam.

Their project hopes to create an educational tool to understand and combat racism.

Zoe says she has experienced racism all her life. “I had racial slurs and food thrown at me in high school, but honestly, it was the casual, subtle racist comments or questions that isolated me the most. This platform is supposed to help educate society on the power of words. Understanding how racism can be subtle and learning to recognize when you do it.”

She hopes BeChangeMaker will turn her vision into reality. “People are impacted in different ways but in the end, we all feel the same - isolated and different. The one-on-one mentoring really excited me. Being able to talk to someone with knowledge and experience in the areas I wish to tackle is more valuable than a cheque.”

Andrew admits he was first attracted to BeChangeMaker for the mentoring and learning opportunities. “But as this project has continued, I have begun to see the bigger picture and have started to question my own personal experiences that I have had in my lifetime. I want to do my part in creating a more welcoming and inclusive society not just for myself, but for everyone.”