Ashoka, the world’s community of leading social entrepreneurs, and Staples, announced the winners of the fifth annual Staples/Ashoka Youth Social Entrepreneur (YSE) Competition early this month.
The global competition highlights youth-led organizations using innovation and technology to address social issues affecting their communities, and is part of Ashoka’s Youth Venture(R), an initiative that identifies and fosters young entrepreneurs all over the world who are creating positive change.
This year, the competition received hundreds of entries from 50 countries addressing a diverse range of issues, from the environment to healthcare and education. The competition applauds exceptional young people and their unique use of technology to make a positive impact in their community and the world.
The 2011 competition winners include:
— Vineet Singal, 21, United States, is the founder of Anjna Patient Education, which provides health education programs to free health clinics to help disadvantaged and low-income patients learn about nutrition, diet and a healthy lifestyle. Vineet previously volunteered at several free clinics and witnessed firsthand the high volume of patients with preventable conditions like stress-related illnesses and obesity and the lack of health education and patient counseling available. With Anjna Patient Education, Vineet is determined to break the cycle of chronic, preventable diseases by developing interactive health education applications for underserved populations.
— Eden Full, 19, Canada, is the founder of Roseicollis Technologies, a social enterprise designed to implement unique technologies in developing and emerging markets. The organization’s primary technology is the SunSaluter, a cost-effective solar panel rotator that increases the efficiency of solar panels to bring alternative energy and electricity to developing countries. In August 2010, Roseicollis Technologies provided electricity, for the first time, to two villages in Kenya to help improve the lives of more than 1,000 residents. The villages can now safely collect firewood, charge cell phones and power radios to remain updated on current events. Eden and Roseicollis Technologies aim to install the SunSaluter in additional countries, including Tanzania, Uganda and Western China.
— Karthik Naralasetty, 22, India, created www.socialblood.org , a social media platform to help address the blood shortage crisis by connecting blood donors and recipients of the same blood type through facebook. After witnessing a family’s struggle to find O+ blood donors every 25 days to treat its four year-old child’s rare medical condition, Karthik knew he needed to take action. Karthik brought Socialblood.org to life and today, this central platform that matches blood donors with recipients has more than 500 users with future plans to expand globally.
— Vivek Nair, 23, Singapore, founded Damascus Fortune, an organization based in India that has developed a technology to produce carbon nanotube and carbon nanofibers from industrial flue gas. The technology converts carbon emissions from automotives and industrial plants such as rice mills, power plants and petrochemicals to produce carbon nanotubes and carbon nanofibers, which are used for composites, nano-electronics, optics, energy storage and many other science applications. Vivek and his team of 15 engineering students are working on further developing the technology, lowering the cost of production, and finding new applications that will help reduce climate change. Damascus Fortune aims to install this technology in almost all flue gas emitting industrial plants and automobiles in India, Singapore, China, EU, UK and USA to reduce global warming in a large scale.
The four winners will receive an all-expenses-paid trip to Techonomy 2011, a prestigious conference for technology leaders featuring the founders and executive leaders for global technology innovators such as LinkedIn, Mozilla and Salesforce.com. The conference is being held November 13-15, 2011 in Tucson, Arizona. Winners will also receive $500 to support their Venture’s development.
More information about the competition and winners can be found at http://www.ashokayouthcompetition.org/