Washington, D.C., October 13, 2021. The Young Americas Business Trust, the Organization of American States and PepsiCo Latin America Beverages, announced the opening of the Eco-Challenge 2022 with the goal of attracting and supporting innovative projects that respond to the priorities of reducing, recycling, and reinventing the use of PET material. This special category is targeted towards young entrepreneurs from ages 18 to 34 from Latin America and the Caribbean. Registrations will be valid until February 1, 2022, and the participants will be able to register on the Eco-Challenge portal: www.ticamericas.net/eco-challenge
The announcement was made during an online event, which indicated that the Eco-Challenge 2022 is a special category of sustainable innovation within the Talent and Innovation Competitions of the Americas (TIC Americas) Program. This edition of the Eco-Challenge will receive proposals from young entrepreneurs aimed at promoting sustainable development with a new vision of plastic. A vision where waste and pollution will be eliminated, products and materials will be kept in use, and natural systems will be regenerated. Thus, contributing to the future of sustainability in the region.
“We are very excited to launch the thirteenth edition of the Eco-Challenge, providing young entrepreneurs in Latin America and the Caribbean a platform that allows them to generate positive change for the planet and the people. At PepsiCo Latin America Beverages, we continue to remain committed to work for a world where plastics do not turn into waste, ” said Gabriela de la Garza, Senior Director Corporate Affairs LAB & CASA, PepsiCo Latin America Beverages, after the announcement.
A report by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation remarks that “a circular economy has the potential to reduce the annual volume of plastics by 80%, generate savings of USD200 million per year, reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 25%, and create 700,000 additional jobs by 2040 ”.
Faced with this scenario, the Eco-Challenge 2022 allows the youth to play a decisive role in the efforts of promoting conditions for sustainable, inclusive, and profitable growth. As a result, many communities will benefit from the economic activities derived from the circular economy of plastic. The proposals received should also allow the industry and consumers to go beyond the use of plastics and build a world where they do not become waste through reduction, recycling, and reinvention.
"If you are a person who has an idea, a project, or the motivation to produce it, do not hesitate to start developing it, because you are not alone," said Ambassador Nestor Mendez, Assistant Secretary General of the OAS. Ambassador Mendez also pointed out that “The Eco-Challenge is the program that you need to materialize your projects, by having the support and accompaniment of a network of international experts who contribute their time and knowledge, as well as young entrepreneurs eager to share with you their knowledge within the world of sustainable entrepreneurship ”.
The organizers of the Eco-Challenge also highlighted that there are multiple benefits of being part of the program. Benefits such as offering permanent access to training sessions conducted by outstanding members of the TIC Americas network of experts, business resources, as well as local and international support networks. These networks are essential for building a sustainable business model with potential for growth.
A total of eight teams will qualify to the Finals to compete for seed capital awards. The winning team, selected by the international judges, will be awarded a total of $ 10,000 dollars for the implementation of their project. While the second-best team will receive a total of $ 5,000 dollars. In addition to seed capital, the teams will also receive non-monetary support for the growth of their businesses.
“Through the Eco-Challenge, young people not only understand the importance of the sustainable use of plastics, but above all, they have the opportunity to contribute to the establishment and consolidation of a circular economy; where industry and consumers, in a coordinated way, support a shared vision where plastic does not become waste and where innovation and entrepreneurship are the pillars of action ”, mentioned Luis A. Viguria, Chief Executive Officer at YABT. Viguria also added "From the YABT, we thank PepsiCo Latin America Beverages for the support provided, and for the leadership combined with action to provide concrete solutions to one of the greatest challenges of our planet."
Since 2009, the Eco-Challenge has established itself as a pioneering program for young entrepreneurs committed to sustainable development. The competition aims to generate a change in society through ideas and projects that will have a positive impact on the community. To date, a total of 20,823 proposals have been submitted by 26,559 participants, from 33 countries.
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