Young Cypriot students present intercommunal ideas for a sustainable future on the island
On 27 February, the Intercommunal Social Entrepreneurship Competition came to its conclusion with 35 students from all communities of Cyprus in an online selection of their best business ideas. In total, eight teams presented their initiatives to a judging panel who reviewed the concepts and efforts of each project.
For the last five weeks, teams, with the support of their mentors, engaged with members of other communities and collaborated on generating business ideas to tackle social problems ranging from environmental issues to employability. Among the participants ideas, were included initiatives such:
- PlastiGoBusters: an application to increase public understanding and shape community perceptions regarding the dangers of plastic usage.
- CY ecotourism: a platform for eco-conscious tourists, eco-friendly hospitality businesses, as well as domestic suppliers in Cyprus, to connect with each other.
- FoodMer: a social enterprise which will process supermarket leftover produce to reduce wasted food and promote a healthy lifestyle.
- C.A.R.E pads: a safe, affordable, reusable, and eco-friendly product for menstruation.
- Cy Greenlane: development of straws made from reeds and restoration / upkeep of Cypriot wetlands.
- The Luxurious: a cosmetic brand that provides organic products to a wide range of audiences hence breaking gender norms in society.
The winning team, 'Joble', developed an app idea to provide opportunities for young job seekers to market themselves by creating their profile, explaining, and uploading their skills while employers would have the opportunity to hire.
Silas Izuchukwu Onuoha, mentor of the winning team, who is a teacher in Cyprus, stated: "this project provided us with the wonderful experience of teamwork, respect for diversity, tolerance, patience, networking and working for a common goal."
The Intercommunal Social Entrepreneurship Competition provided an opportunity for youth in Cyprus to learn and express new ideas related to social entrepreneurship and link them to the UN’ Sustainable Development Goals.
For Efthymios Charalambous, one of the mentors: "As a young professional, I had the opportunity to practice my leadership skills, but at the same time to promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development. Although every competition has a winner, the most important thing was to promote these values to the young generation."
As one of the mentors, Bahire Lütfioğlu also describes the experience: "during this period, I realized that youth are more open to communication and they are aware and accustomed to new sustainable business models. I was shocked that they already have knowledge on nearly all the UN Global Goals. We need to give them more chances and listen to their voices actively for moderated solutions to real problems.”
The Competition was organised by YEU Cyprus and the Famagusta Students Together Intercommunal Programme with support from UNFICYP.