Written by 5:21 am Opportunities

Laudato Sì Challenge Just Announced its 3rd Edition – and Applications are Open

With a stellar jury and the involvement of leaders from the private, public and faith sectors, the Laudato sì Challenge is back to support entrepreneurs addressing migration and forced displacement.

By SWB Team

Inspired by Pope Francis’ 2015 encyclical letter Laudato sì, the annual Laudato sì Challenge is now launching its third edition, focusing on preventing forced displacement by empowering one million families to remain in their homes by 2021 .

By focusing on prevention, the Challenge addresses the root causes of forced displacement: poverty, persecution, education, conflict and environmental degradation, and will pursue its goal along two tracks: selecting and supporting high-quality, later-stage enterprise solutions; and securing new, specific and measurable “Commitments to Impact.”

So who’s the challenge for? All startups working to prevent forced displacement, which can demonstrate sufficient impact, traction and product market fit, and at least $500,000 in annual revenue or have been in business for at least three years.

“The thematic focus of The 2019 Laudato sì Challenge is ‘home’: a universal concept that connects our global family,” says Ahmad Ashkar, Laudato sì Challenge Co-Founder and CEO of The Hult Prize, the inspiration for The Challenge. “Helping people remain where they want to be — in their homes — is good for all ‘stakeholders’: governments, local economies and the families themselves.”

Last December in Vatican City, The Laudato sì Challenge convened 80 leaders, featured 10 companies tackling forced displacement and secured 12 private sector “Commitments to Impact” that could improve the lives of 12.6 million people, including a €30M commitment from Opes Fund to invest in 1,500 refugee run businesses by 2020. 

Several of the winning startups work with refugee entrepreneurship and employment, including 51 Labs, Natakallam, and Chatterbox.

This year, the challenge features a jury composed by Forbes Impact Co-Founder, Brendan Doherty; Green Sands Equity CEO, Reema Khan; Blue Like an Orange Sustainable Capital CEO and former CFO of The World Bank, Bertrand Badré; Aspect Ventures Co-Founder & Managing Director, Theresia Gouw; ID4A Technologies CEO & Founder, Rania Hoteit; and Chairman of The Pontifical School of Business Ethics at The Vatican, Father Phillip Larrey. 

Some of the private sector partners include AspirationAmazon/AWSForbes ImpactUulalaRefugee Investment NetworkBNP ParibasEarth Day NetworkICON and Blue Like an Orange Sustainable Capital, a new impact firm focused on the SDG’s.

Entrepreneurs with proven solutions can apply here. Finalists will be announced on September 1, and they will present in Vatican City on December 6th.

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