Innovating for Good: GIST Innovation Hubs Roundup Part 3
Innovation Hubs, or IHubs, are designed to build strong and vibrant networks of young science and technology entrepreneurs around the world. The hubs are created in partnership with local startup incubators. For the participating incubators, IHub offers another avenue to support their entrepreneurs.
The ultimate goal of the initiative is to stimulate local entrepreneurial activity and ensure participants can grow their skills and scale their businesses together – both in their home country and through the GIST Network’s global connections.
In this roundup we highlight a few of the GIST IHubs whose work in these uncertain times exemplifies the purpose of STEM innovators across the world.
UTEC Ventures - Peru
Like many entrepreneurship ecosystem builders, Univeristy of Engineering and Technology in Peru (UTEC) Ventures has had to dramatically adjust how they serve their community.
In addition to recent virtual meetups specific to entrepreneurship, technology and innovation, UTEC Ventures has partnered with organizations such as EY and CMS Grau to help shape current regulations and policies in Peru to better address new challenges.
UTEC Ventures has a strong alumni network which they have continued to engage. They've been able to conduct weekly online meetings that focus on getting feedback from entrepreneurs, one-on-one meetings with founders, and have ultimately provided several opportunities for startups needing assistance in these current times.
As many IHubs have discovered, it is important, now more than ever, to show how startups are succeeding in spite of current difficulties. One of the ways UTEC Ventures has been effective in this regard is to include startup success stories in their newsletters.
Most recently, UTEC Ventures helped their community participate in the Startup Weekend Covid-19 Challenge and the Innovation Kickoff with Microsoft and Emprear. They also participated in the Global Roundtable with Ten Habitat and many other Latin American ecosystem builders.
BH Foundation - Bosnia & Herzegovina
BH Foundation has been busy adapting to the challenges presented by the changing work dynamics and community needs. As part of an initiative with United Nations Development Programme and BIT Alliance, BH Foundation helped coordinate the COVID-19 Ideathon for participants from Bosnia & Herzegovina.
Innovating in real time, BH Foundation organized their own initiative to offer students online tutoring in a variety of different courses. More than 650 students applied for the program. However, as many educational institutions are discovering, connecting students with teachers online can be its own challenge. In response, BH Foundation additionally conducted a series of webinars for professors to train them on digital tools for continuing their instructions online.
Science and Technology Park Chiangmai University (STeP) - Thailand
In an effort to adapt to current market and social changes, GIST Innovation Hub STeP and their startup, Maneejun, are providing important resources for the Thai entrepreneurial ecosystem.
STeP developed and donated mobile UVC sterilizers to local hospitals to ensure the health and safety of healthcare workers. The units which kills germs and viruses using ultraviolet light has the added feature of reporting bulb health to a mobile app to ensure the devices are always functioning at optimal levels.
Working with universities in the northern region of Thailand, STeP is using data from entrepreneurs to understand their needs and better tailor programs to them. Online lectures and workshops for early-stage startups have proved to be especially in demand as innovators in Thailand seek to understand new strategies for the changing economy.
Ruta N - Colombia
To address the shortage of ventilators in the region, more than 100 volunteers from twenty academic institutions, the business sector, and the public came together under the coordination of Ruta N and ANDI to work at InnspiraMED on three ventilator prototypes that can be quickly scaled. The idea behind designing three different prototypes is to spread out the risk of committing to just one solution. This prevents unforeseen flaws in the designs as well as component scarcity from halting production. The resulting ventilator will be entirely open source and the design will be available for all communities to download and build.
Once the production phase begins, InnspiraMED will be seeking production partners with skills such as engineering, prototyping, plastic injection, manufacturing of acrylic parts, machining, 3D printing. If you would like to get involved, use the form at this Link.
GIST IHub Malaysia - Malaysia
As the global crisis began, Malaysia’s GIST IHub began reaching out to public and private partners to develop solutions with immediate impact that could be implemented quickly. Through a collaborative effort, they begin manufacturing hand sanitizers to be distributed to the public for free. With angel partners Angels in Science and UM Angels, and private sector partners such as Lendlease, MRCB, Tessolve Semiconductors, and WWRC, function of Science was founded. In conjunction with six public universities in Malaysia, function mobilized temporary production facilities to produce 15,000 bottles of hand sanitizer.
As part of Phase 2 for this endeavor, GIST IHub Malaysia’s Murali Prasad is calling on all IHubs to be part of the #freehandsanitizer movement to advocate for free hand sanitizers to be provided to the poor in emerging economies.