Across the world, young people are being disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly in the world of work. The educational systems are struggling to provide students with the skills required in the modern economy.
Led by the Think Tank AlterContacts and its Academy for Sustainable Development, the UN-recognized initiative working towards innovation in education and a better future, this Competition aims to prepare students for their professional life, providing them an opportunity to learn by doing.
In this Competition, students will actively address the current economic crisis and come up with sustainable, innovative and entrepreneurial ideas on how we can help small businesses around the world.
Lockdown Economy Challenge hosted with the Anahuac Mayab University, Mexico, August 2020
By equipping students with the skills and network necessary to start a professional life, this project set out to facilitate successful school-to-work transition, promote active citizenship and sustainability education.
According to Eurostat, in Dec 2020, 3.138 mln people under 25 were unemployed in the EU. Compared to 2019, the rate grew by 14%. In some European countries, the graduate employment rate is as low as 56%. There are currently over 16 mln students in the EU that need more dynamic ways to get ready for the new economy.
The Lockdown Economy Challenge tackles three key societal issues:
Youth development and employment;
The project responds to the call and contributes to the key European programs: Next Generation EU, The Digital Agenda for Europe, The strategic framework for European cooperation in education and training 2020 (ET2020), the European Skills Agenda.
In an engaging form of a competition, our project will enable students to create social innovation initiatives, rather than just participate in one. They will acquire the skills necessary for the modern labour market
The project has many effective ways to plug into society and have a real impact on current issues. It becomes their vehicle for school-to-work transition.
Impact on Sustainable Development Goals
SDG 4: Quality Education
Target 4.4: Increase the number of youth who have relevant skills for employment, decent jobs and entrepreneurship.
Target 4.5: Eliminate all discrimination in education
Target 4.7: Education for sustainable development and global citizenship
SDG 8: Sustainable Economic Growth
Target 8.3: Promote entrepreneurship, creativity and innovation
Target 8.6: Promote youth employment, education and training
Making University Education More Dynamic
The project enables Educational Institutions to
Engage students remotely into international social action;
Practice active citizenship and sustainability mindset;
Expose and prepare students for the reality of both entrepreneurial and work-life;
Ensure smooth school-to-work transition;
Partake in the United Nations registered initiative, contribute to SDGs and receive measurable proof of that contribution.
It improves the Index of the university ranking, (especially Impact Ranking connected to SDGs), increases its reputation and possibility for receiving financial support and various types of certifications.
EASY TO IMPLEMENT
The Competition has a step-by-step guide on how to set it up in any educational institution. It takes from 1 to 2 weeks to launch it.
The set of 330+ small-business case studies for students represents 41 countries and 17 languages. That accounts for the local conditions in different parts of Europe.
Everything is fully digital which allows it to be remote, safe for health, and green.
Lockdown Economy initiative was chosen by the European Parliament as the national finalist from the Netherlands for the European Charlemagne Youth Prize 2021.
For its contribution to promoting European and international understanding and providing role models for young people living in Europe and offer practical examples of Europeans living together as one community.
Lockdown Economy Challenge was nominated for the Social Innovation Tournament of the European Investment Bank Institute. For its innovation in scaling social impact initiatives.
Pilot projects hosted with
University registers with the Think Tank AlterContacts to host the Lockdown Economy Challenge.
Students (and teachers) of the university form interdisciplinary teams.
Choose a case they want to work on from Lockdown Economy Database or host their own interview with a small business owner.
Prepare a Business analysis and a proposal “What would you do if you were the owner?”
Describe its contribution to Sustainable Development Goals.
Describe how you would work with the owner if you win.
Depending on the availability, there might be volunteer mentors involved in guiding students on how to write a proposal.
Follows the S.M.A.R.T. logic
Relevant to the size of the chosen business and takes into account the lack of resource
Shows how it contributes to the Sustainable Development Goals
Designs a way how the team will collaborate with the business.
Proposals are evaluated by University representatives, the Think Tank volunteer-coordinator assigned to the university, and one of the experts of the Think Tank AlterContacts. If it receives a high score it is sent to the business itself to identify the opportunity for internship and collaboration with students.
Five teams get to present their proposal at a University Online Event
Three teams have a chance to implement their proposal with the business chosen
Ten best proposals get featured in the channels of Think Tank AlterContacts
Participants with receive a certificate of their contribution to SDGs
Chosen few will have an opportunity to become a fellow at the Think Tank and publish their article in an ISBN publication.
The teams/individuals from each university that proposed the most innovative solution will be invited to a bi-yearly international Think Tank event where students can share their proposal and their views on how it fits with building the future of Europe. They will also get a chance to interact with the chosen few like-minded young people from other countries.
This event/conversation will be hosted and facilitated by the Think Tank AlterContacts. The insights will be shared both in video and written form.
Depending on what comes up during the conversation, the Think Tank would provide resources to facilitate further interaction for these students to co-create a new social innovation initiative. In that case, the Think Tank together with the partner universities will do the guidance from ideation to MVP.
BENEFITS FOR STUDENTS
Opportunity for “hands-on” collaboration with international virtual teams using new digital methods.
Chance to kickstart their professional career by adding practical experience to their academic curriculum.
Stronger foundation and practical skills required in the modern world, such as innovation, creativity, collaboration and entrepreneurship.
Access to networks that provide opportunities for internships, further development and employment worldwide.
Being an active global citizen and contributing to SDGs.
HOW TO APPLY
Participating universities contribute one-time registration fee to run the competition, receive the toolkit and continuous guidance from the Think Tank AlterContacts.
After signing the collaboration agreement with the Think Tank, the university announces the competition and the deadline to its students.
It is open to apply for any student of the participating universities.
What students say after completing the Challenge?
Watch the classes based on the Lockdown Economy
The recording was done during the introductory lecture for 150 Bachelor students of Epoka University (Albania) to onboard them for the Lockdown Economy project.
This recording was done during the live class for the MBA students of the Anahuac Mayab University in Mexico. It was the launch of the pilot of the Lockdown Economy Academy by the Think Tank AlterContacts.
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