YEREVAN, NOVEMBER 30, ARTSAKHPRESS. In November, pupils, students and working young people from across Bulgaria presented their ideas on the development of the country’s cities and villages within the first semester of the Panda Labs innovations programme. At two thematic online hackatons, Bulgarians aged between 15 and 25 offered their innovative solutions to pressing ecological and social challenges faced by urban and rural residents.
The Panda Labs programme of WWF Bulgaria aims to find the next generation of researchers and entrepreneurs to help solve regional and global problems. Each of the programme’s semesters of hackatons has a specific topic on which interested individuals and teams can apply. Those selected attend lectures by specialists in the field of science and the nongovernmental sector, meet with entrepreneurs, and visit companies and laboratories before presenting their solutions to a jury for the chance to participate in international events and win funding to make their business ideas a reality.
Panda Labs’ first semester was themed “The Future of Cities and Villages” and featured a hackaton on the future of cities (from November 4 to 6) and on the future of villages (from November 25 to 27).
In the first hackaton, ten teams presented their ideas about a futuristic city where people live better and in harmony with nature. The winning teams were: Volcanic Dandelion (with the idea to cool down attics in the summer through a system of circulating water and a modified roof of a reflecting material), Amasia (with the idea to reduce heat waves and make cities more beautiful and cozy through vertical gardens on residential buildings), and Ecotopia (with the idea to create containers for animal waste and bags made of leaves and grass).
In the second hackaton, twelve teams presented their alternative solutions to ecological problems related to villages’ sustainable development. Four teams won: Vision for a Future (with the idea to repair roads in rural areas using processed plastic in the asphalt); BioLife (with the idea to revive and modernize abandoned buildings in villages using contemporary energy solutions and ecological building methods); Sirius (with the idea to protect plants using a sensor with an incorporated solar system, a nylon layer of recycled materials and artificial intelligence); and TIL Innovations (with the idea for a box of homemade and craft products representing Bulgarian villages’ traditions and way of life).
The teams Volcanic Dandelion, Amasia, Vision for a Future, and BioLife will attend a masterclass in January 2023 to further develop their ideas with the help of lectors and mentors (entrepreneurs, business leaders, and experts). They will then compete for BGN 7,000 in initial capital for turning their idea into a successful business initiative.
Panda Labs is carried out by WWF Bulgaria with the support of America for Bulgaria Foundation and Kaufland Bulgaria.
(This information is published based on the cooperation agreement between ARMENPRESS and BTA).