Masdar News

Masdar’s Youth 4 Sustainability platform launches Ecothon Innovation Challenge on the circular economy

09 Mar 2021 Press Release

Ecothon Innovation Challenge supported by Khalifa Fund for Enterprise Development, Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi, the Authority of Social Contribution – Ma’an, and Nestle 
Competition aims to develop new circular economy solutions for packaging waste including plastic

Masdar’s Youth 4 Sustainability (Y4S) platform has launched the fifth edition of its Ecothon Innovation Challenge under the initiative’s Future Sustainability Leaders (FSL) program, to develop circular economy solutions to tackle waste.  

Under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Khalid bin Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Youth 4 Sustainability (Y4S), a Masdar outreach initiative, invests and actively supports the development of youth, with the objective of enabling them to become the sustainability leaders of tomorrow. 

The circular economy topic was selected to provide participants with the opportunity to propose solutions to a real-world problem. Plastic pollution is one of the world’s most challenging sustainability issues, and as waste management problems have intensified across the globe, there has been an increasing need to develop and re-design products based on the principles of the circular economy.  

More than 60 Future Sustainability Leaders, in eight separate teams, will participate in the Ecothon and will each select one of two challenges: “How we might use new & recyclable materials for packaging, production & design?” and “How might we work with society, governments and corporations to encourage responsible behavior toward a single-use plastic-free future?” 

With the help of mentors from supporting companies Khalifa Fund for Enterprise Development, the Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi, the Authority of Social Contribution – Ma’an and Nestle, each team will present their final pitches to a panel of judges to decide the winning team.  

“The Youth 4 Sustainability platform launched the Ecothon to invest in youth and directly support their education and development. The challenge aims to develop the participants’ skills and knowledge in innovation, social entrepreneurship, collaboration and critical thinking, to enable them to become future business leaders and innovators, while supporting the global sustainability agenda,” said Dr Lamya Fawwaz, Executive Director, Brand & Strategic Initiatives, Masdar.

The challenge will run for almost three months and the participating teams receive approximately 50 hours of mentoring and training on design thinking and insights for innovation, ideation, prototyping and pitching. The winning team will be connected with potential incubators for mentorship and to help them advance their idea. 

The platform hosts two year-long programs – the Future Sustainability Leaders and Sustainability Ambassadors programs, which aim to build the next generation of sustainability leaders. 

The Future Sustainability Leaders connects university students and professionals aged 18-35 with global leaders, policymakers and technology pioneers to learn about sustainability best practice and leadership. 

The Ecothon competition was launched in 2019 and offers early incubation and acceleration opportunities to Y4S cohorts through mentoring and networking.