We believe that crowdfunding offers incredible opportunities to change the world, one step at a time. That’s what makes it so exciting to discover inspiring projects that work to turn important ideas into action.
We were therefore extremely pleased when Influx Trust asked for our help to develop a crowdfunding platform to support ambitious projects all over the world that embody the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The project, #Connect2Effect, hosts global hackathons to encourage more people to explore what they can achieve through social enterprise, while providing access to the resources that will help them become social entrepreneurs and make a difference to the world. The idea is to create a community of world changers looking to connect, create, and collaborate in order to make a bigger impact on the world, together.
With this in mind, they recently hosted successful hackathons across the globe, focused on projects which embody three of the SDGs:
- Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure – Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation
- Reduced Inequalities – Reduce income inequality within and among countries
- Responsible Consumption and Production – Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns
The nine winning teams won the opportunity to take their ideas further, uploading their projects to #Connect2Effect’s crowdfunding platform in order to build interest and support. Ultimately, three of them will win the opportunity to present their ideas to the UN’s Forum on Science, Technology and Innovation for the Sustainable Development Goals (STI Forum).
We talked to Max Kalis, founder of Influx Trust, and discussed how he came up with the idea of such an inspiring project, and their plans for the future.
Max Kalis on Influx Trust and #Connect2Effect
What do we need to know about Influx Trust?
It’s a UK charity that helps to better connect the UN and the public.
How did you come up with the idea of involving hackathons and crowdfunding in your project?
My background is in Fintech, and as an Innovation Manager in the Innovation for Lloyds Banking Group I saw the power of hackathons first hand and I understand the potential of crowdfunding.
Tell us about the recent hackathons. How did they go?
The hackathons were varied, unsurprisingly given the broad range of locations (Bali, Bahrain, New York, Chandigarh, Lisbon, London, Rio, Geneva, Lagos), and it was fascinating to see the cultural variations in groups of people all around the world, all developing new ideas addressing the UN’s SDGs.
You’ve just launched your crowdfunding platform. What are the next steps?
Definitely focusing on the nine teams that won each regional event as we select the top three to go to the UN’s Science, Technology & Innovation event in May. Any project aligned to the SDGs can use the crowdfunding platform after 18th April but the top nine teams have exclusive use until then.
Longer term, this is about fostering open innovation between the public and the UN on the SDGs. In future we will be promoting the crowdfunding site as a ‘two-way street’ whereby we don’t just have projects from the public getting support from the public and the UN, but also the UN listing its own projects.
Every year we’ll have an annual hackathon and there’s talk of 17 locations for next year!
Can you tell us more about the competition that’s coming up among the hackathons’ winners?
The nine regional winners from all around the world now compete for three places to attend the UN’s Science, Technology & Innovation event in May. The nine regions were addressing three of the 17 SDGs (9,10,12) and one winner will be selected per goal. The criteria are:
- 50% – traction on social media
- 30% – judging by the Influx Trust
- 20% – relative success on the crowdfunding platform
What’s the best message you want to spread through your initiative?
Through #Connect2Effect, changing the world is much easier and more fun.
How can we follow your community?
If you want to learn more about Influx Trust and Connect2Effect, you can check out their website, while you can also discover all the inspiring projects from the hackathons’ winners on #Connect2Effect’s crowdfunding platform.
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