Climate-KIC contributes to global talent development lab UNLEASH alongside the world’s sustainability leaders

Climate-KIC's CEO Kirsten Dunlop will judge participants from UNLEASH talent development programme in a Dragon's Den format in Aarhus on 20 August. The best solution is granted direct access to the world's biggest cleantech start-up accelerator.

CEO of Climate-KIC Kirsten Dunlop and Director of Climate-KIC Nordic Susanne Pedersen.

The 2017 UNLEASH Lab is the first in an annual series that will see 1,000 young people passionate about action on sustainability embark on an intensive week-long programme to develop their ideas and skills. The goal is to develop a comprehensive platform dedicated to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) “where talents can add value directly and access an ecosystem of corporations, think-tanks, foundations, non-profits and angel investors.”

Dunlop will be among a six-strong judging panel, comprising Shashi Buluswar, CEO of the Institute for Transformative Technologies at University of California at Berkeley; Tommy Ahlers, serial entrepreneur and investor known from the Danish Dragon’s Den, Løvens Hule; Jorge Wong-Valle from the International Finance Cooperation (IFC); and Madji Sock, president of the Women’s Investment Club and Dalberg partner. These will select the most promising participants and projects, with the best entrepreneurial solution granted a place on the Climate-KIC’s business incubation programme, the Start-up Accelerator.  

Another highlight of UNLEASH will be a high level panel at the beautiful Aarhus Museum of Art ARoS, in which Kirsten Dunlop will participate together with Jay Corless from the UN Foundation and Rajiv Vaid Basaiawmoit, Head of SciTech Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the Climate-KIC Partner University of Aarhus, among others.

Fostering Sustainability Leaders

UNLEASH’ first innovation lab event kicked off in Copenhagen, Denmark on Monday 14 August 2017.  The programme includes visits to some of Denmark’s most innovative companies, coached by leading experts on sustainability. Participants will be able to network effectively and learn from each other’s interdisciplinary knowledge. 

Keynote speeches at the Copenhagen event were delivered by chief executives of a number of companies including wind energy firm Vestas, and biotech pioneer Novozymes, as well as architect Bjarke Ingels and Volvo’s futurologist Aric Dromi. Interactive learning will get underway, with participants divided into seven thematic tracks, such as energy, health and urban sustainability. The seven groups are currently staying at different academic centres spread across Denmark where they will work on developing creative ideas for how to reach the SDGs. 

Activity will culminate with an award ceremony in Aarhus, which is the European Capital of Culture for 2017 and new Climate-KIC partner city. Groups will pitch to and receive guidance from selected expert track judges, in the run up to the finales. Climate-KIC Nordic’s Director Susanne Pedersen will support the energy track. 

"I’m looking very much forward to seeing what innovative ideas will emerge from such a talented and highly diverse group of people. Supporting the energy track, I can draw on my previous experience from working with international energy and environmental projects in Rambøll and I recognise the importance of a global transition to renewable energies worldwide."

Susanne Pedersen, Managing Director, Climate-KIC Nordic

UNLEASH’ Competitive Edge 

The final pitch, a “Dragon’s Den” format before a leading innovation judging panel, will take place on Sunday 20 August. The event is a critical way of engaging a powerful future network, according to Climate-KIC CEO, Kirsten Dunlop: 

"Remarkable people, challenging and listening to each other, taking multiple perspectives on the world are the key to unlocking breakthrough innovation and new paradigms for the ways we live. I am thrilled to participate in an extraordinary event and gathering of remarkable talent and delighted to be able to contribute by providing feedback through the Dragon’s Den format. And as the CEO of Climate-KIC, I consider it a privilege to connect with future leaders of sustainability solutions and engage a powerful future network beyond the boundaries of our organisation."

Kirsten Dunlop, CEO, Climate-KIC  

Entry to the Climate-KIC accelerator  

Climate-KIC is offering a much-coveted place on its cleantech Accelerator programme as part of the UNLEASH awards. The most promising start-up idea submitted to the UNLEASH platform will be granted automatic access to the Climate-KIC Accelerator, which is the world’s largest of its kind. 

"It’s incredibly rewarding to work with so many motivated and talented people. I am honoured to provide coaching and financing to help sustainable businesses to market through our Accelerator programme, and the UNLEASH platform will be a perfect place to source some of these."

Mikkel Trym, Accelerator Lead, Climate-KIC Nordic

High level support  

The final day of UNLEASH will see the high-level panel debate at the Aarhus Museum of Art ARoS, with a final award ceremony attended by prominent figures including Her Royal Highness Crown Princess Mary of Denmark, actor, philanthropist, entrepreneur Ashton Kutcher, and the Danish Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen marking the end of celebrations. 

You can read more about UNLEASH here.



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