Young Global Changers Recoupling Awards
Over the last several decades, we have been witnessing significant economic growth in many parts of the world. At the same time, we are seeing a rise in inequality, an exacerbating climate crisis and a rising sense of disempowerment. This trend can be described as the decoupling of economic prosperity from social prosperity and environmental sustainability. The Global Solutions Initiative aims to address this trend by generating proposals to better align economic and political activities with environmental sustainability and social prosperity. With the Young Global Changers Recoupling Awards we want to recognize and reward youth-led projects and initiatives from around the world which embody this recoupling-approach.
Recoupling-projects must be guided by a people-centric approach, that puts the needs and voices of their stakeholders, customers and communities at the center. The jury will be looking for particularly novel, unique and original approaches or projects that address specific issues which have previously been neglected. Projects must be beyond the idea phase and can include social businesses as well as nonprofit activities. (You can find examples of previous projects here.)
Who are the Young Global Changers?
The Young Global Changers (YGC) are individuals with innovative ideas on how to make this world a better place. They must have developed a project or an initiative to turn these ideas into action.
The Young Global Changers program brings together these young people from around the world who are working towards a global paradigm shift, combining their talents and together becoming a strong voice for change.
Since 2017, the Young Global Changers program has attracted over 410 students and young professionals from more than 120 different countries to participate in the Global Solutions Summit and to attend the Global Solutions Summer School.
Testimonial By Last Year’s YGC Recoupling Awards Winner
Mathias Charles Yabe is a food systems hero and a technology enthusiast, working to make food systems stronger, fairer and more sustainable in local communities in Ghana.
He is the Co-Founder and CEO of AkoFresh, a green cold chain solution which helps farmers to reduce postharvest losses, offering a vital pathway to alleviate poverty & improve nutrition. Since 2018, it is the young entrepreneur’s mission to help make food systems resilient through the introduction of climate-smart solutions in local communities to help improve livelihoods of smallholder farmers through his agritech solution.
All applicants who qualify to be among the Top 50, will become part of our cohort of 2023 Young Global Changers. All 50 projects will be presented on the Global Solutions website. Representatives of the most outstanding projects will get the opportunity to travel to Berlin and participate in the 2023 Global Solutions Summit (May 15/16, 2023). The very best will have the chance to present their project at the Summit in front of a renowned jury and an international audience. The jury will select three winners. The overall winner receives a prize of € 5.000, the runner-up receives € 2.000, third place wins € 1.000. Selected projects will have a chance to receive additional mentoring, training, and further support to help improve their project or initiative.
Are you involved in a project or initiative that steers economic or political activity towards the needs of people? Are you putting environmental sustainability at the center? Are you challenging the status quo? Would you like to share your innovative approaches with our community of changemakers and policy specialists – while also learning from them?
DECEMBER 15, 2022:
FEBRUARY 5, 2023:
FEBRUARY 23, 2023:
Announce Top 50
MARCH 23, 2023:
MAY 15 – 16, 2023:
Finals in Berlin
Over the last several decades, we have been witnessing significant economic growth in many parts of the world. At the same time, we are seeing a rise in inequality, an exacerbating climate crisis and a rising sense of disempowerment. This trend can be described as the decoupling of economic prosperity from social prosperity and environmental sustainability.
The Global Solutions Initiative aims to address this trend by generating proposals to better align economic and political activities with environmental sustainability and social prosperity. With the Young Global Changers Recoupling Award we want to honor, and support projects that embody this approach. We want to draw attention to best practices but also learn from them.
Complete the online application form and include all relevant information about your project. There are no costs associated with the application. For a successful submission the following information and material will need to be provided:
- Personal information (name, email address, place of residence, date and place of birth)
- Project information (name of the project, project description, connection to recoupling)
- Upload of the following documents: 1. CV, 2. project description, 3. photo of you, 4. short video (max. 5 min)
The selection and evaluation of the projects will be done by a jury. Of all projects submitted, the best 50 will be presented on our website, a minimum of 10 projects will be selected for the final round in Berlin.
The best initiatives among the finalists will be presented in front of a live jury of experts and a global audience at the Global Solutions Summit 2023 on May 15/16 in Berlin. The pitch can be held digitally or on-site. (It will not be a disadvantage if one of the finalists is not able to attend the summit in Berlin in person.)
- Young entrepreneurs or innovators who have started or are involved in a leading role in a social enterprise that aims at aligning economic activity with environmental sustainability and social prosperity.
- Young business leaders aiming at changing “business as usual” from the inside (“intrapreneurs”).
- Young non-profit actors, community organizers, advocacy leaders, campaigners, or implementers of social, economic, or environmental change on a local, regional or even on the global level.
- The project, business or initiative that you apply with needs to aim at recoupling, i.e. a better alignment of economic or political activities with social well-being and environmental sustainability.
- The applicant should have a leading position in the project/initiative they are applying with. (e.g. founder, co-founder, project-lead, initiator or a similar role.)
- The applicant needs to be between the ages of 18 and 35.
- Applicants need to be willing and motivated to become active members of a global network which aims at bringing about lasting global change.
Are you part of such a project or initiative? Are you heading an innovative social start-up? Are you trying to change your organization from the inside? Are you supporting people in need? Are you pushing or advocating for change? Tell us about it and apply now!
- Travel expenses to and from Berlin**
- Accommodation for the time of the Global Solutions Summit (four nights, May 13-17, 2023)***
- Free admission to the Global Solutions Summit 2023
- Networking opportunities with great minds from academia, business, politics & civil society
- Access to an exclusive global network of like-minded Young Global Changers
- Possibilities for further engagement
*Please note that all expenses must be paid upfront and will be reimbursed within 6 weeks after the Global Solutions Summit. Participants are responsible for submitting reimbursement claims. Currency fluctuations may lead to small changes in the total amount reimbursed.
** Costs for train journeys or flights in economy class as well as visa costs can be reimbursed. Additional costs may apply, which will not be covered by the scholarship (this may include local transportation in Berlin, food, health or travel insurance and more).
***The hotel will be arranged and paid for by the Global Solutions Initiative. It will be located in the vicinity of the summit venue.
Please note that traveling to Berlin will only be possible if the local health and security situation allows!
Each applicant is required to write a short description of their project or initiative and explain briefly how their activities promote “Recoupling”, i. e., how their initiatives provide benefits for the environment, their communities, or the society at large. Applicants are also required to create a video version of their project presentation (5-minute maximum). The top presentations will presented on the Global Solutions Initiative website.
From these projects, a minimum of 10 finalists will be selected to present at the Global Solutions Summit in Berlin. Projects will be evaluated based on the below judging rubric.
a) Two Short Project Descriptions
Each applicant is expected to provide two short descriptions of their projects. The first one is about the project itself, its mission, what you are trying to achieve and how. The second description should address how the project or initiative specifically contributes to recoupling, i.e. to a better alignment of economic or political activities with social needs and environmental sustainability.
b) One Video Pitch
Each applicant is expected to submit a video (five minutes or shorter). The video should underline and visualize an interesting aspect of the initiative or project, this can be a re-statement of the core mission and your aims, but it can also be impressions from the day-to-day work that you do, a customer journey, testimonials, an interview, stakeholder viewpoints or other perspectives. Whatever you think will give the jury and the broader public a good impression of what it is that you do, what you are trying to achieve, how you are going about this and/or how you are contributing to recoupling. You can upload a pre-existing video, an image film or something you produce specifically for the application. You are welcome to use slides, bullet points, photos, animations or other pre-recorded material in the videos. Be creative!
2. Recoupling Approach
From the material that you provide the jury will assess how well your project contributes to a better alignment of economic or political activities with social needs and environmental sustainability. Projects can address both domains, the social as well as the environmental. However, you may choose to emphasize one over the other. The jury may choose well-balanced projects that do well in both domains alongside projects that have a strong but well-founded focus on only one of the two.
a) Social Domain (People-Centered)
How well does the project reflect a people-centric approach? How does it put the needs and voices of their stakeholders, customers, workers and/or communities at the center? What is the aspired and the actual impact on the lives of those who are affected by the project? Who is included/excluded? Which groups benefit, which don’t (different genders, races, and socioeconomic groups)? How well are individuals or groups empowered through the project?
b) Environmental Domain (Circularity and Climate Positivity, Planetary Health)
How does the project impact the natural environment, in their communities, regionally and globally, immediately and over time? Does the project contribute to balancing the need for healthy communities with stewardship of natural ecosystems? How does it address the linkages between human health and the health of our planet? What is the negative/positive impact on air quality, sanitation, drinking water, waste management, biodiversity, emissions, climate change? Does the project include, promote or provide avenues to a circular production, or more broadly a circular economy?
3. Innovation, Impact and Importance
From the material that you provide the jury will also aim to assess the novelty, innovativeness and uniqueness of the project, its design, or its approach. The jury will also assess if and how the project addresses issues of broader political, societal or environmental importance.
a) Innovative Character
How novel, unique, or original is the project? Does it include new approaches to a known problem, or does it address a specific issue that has previously been neglected?
b) Applicability, Effectiveness and Design
Is the project well-designed to successfully address the problems it aims to tackle? What can we draw, learn from the project, its approach or design?
c) Importance of the Issues and Broader Implications
Does the project address an issue of broader political, societal or environmental importance? How well does it address systemic or structural factors?
1. What do you mean by “Recoupling”?
“Recoupling” refers to the linking or re-linking of economic prosperity with social prosperity and environmental sustainability. It describes an initiative to counter the decoupling of economic activities from the needs of people, societies and the environment.
Recoupling can be viewed as a necessary precondition to overcome the weaknesses of unregulated capitalism, thereby addressing many of the current global challenges. Recoupling-approaches aim at a better alignment of economic and political activities with environmental sustainability and with social prosperity – putting human needs and thriving societies at the center.
To be recognized as a project that fosters recoupling, projects must be guided by a people-centric approach, one that puts the needs and voices of their stakeholders, customers, workers and/or communities at the center. We also want to learn how the project impacts the natural environment. Does the project, for example, promote avenues to carbon neutrality and towards circular modes of production and consumption? The projects do not need to address both domains (the social and the environmental) to the same degree. Well balanced projects may be chosen alongside other projects with a strong focus on only one of the two domains.
2. What does it mean to have a “leading” role?
Participants should have a leading position in the project or initiative they are applying with. This can be the role of a founder, co-founder, project-lead, initiator or a similar role.
Should you be unsure whether your role in the project or initiative is suitable, ask yourself the following questions: Do I directly determine the path and direction the project is to take? Can I authentically speak about the goals of the initiative? Can I report on how the initiative wants to align itself in the future? If the answer to all three questions is “yes,” you should apply!
3. Can I apply for the YGC Recoupling Awards if I am older than 35 years?
The Young Global Changers program specifically aims at empowering the young generation. With the YGC Recoupling Award we want to recognize and support projects specifically by young people that embody the recoupling approach. That is why we aim primarily to attract applicants between the ages of 18 and 35. However, this is not a strict age limit, should you be able to give reasons as to why we should include you, even though you have exceeded the age range, we would be happy to consider your application.
4. What are the semi-finals?
The phase of the semi finals will not include any onsite-meetings or travel. During the semi-finals the project descriptions of all semi-finalists will be posted on the Global Solutions website for the jury and the public to see. We will also schedule one or two online meetings for all semi-finalists during which they will get to network amongst each other and with experts from the Global Solutions Initiative. All semi-finalists will automatically be included into our Young Global Changers class of 2023. Semi-finalists will not receive a scholarship, travel-allowance or any other financial reward for their participation in the semi-finals. They will however be officially recognized as a 2023 Young Global Changer and become part of our global community of changemakers.
5. What are the finals?
The finals will take place in Berlin on May 15/16, 2023. From all semi-finalists a minimum of 10 finalists will be chosen to participate in the finals. The finals will consist of an event at the Global Solutions Summit 2023 during which all finalists will have the opportunity to present their project in front of a jury of experts.
6. Which costs will be reimbursed as part of the scholarship?
Should you be one of the finalists who get invited to attend the Global Solutions Summit on May 15/16, 2023, the Global Solutions Initiative will fully reimburse your travel costs and arrange your stay. Please note that scholarship awardees, even after their application has been successful, must consult us before making any purchases! Only costs that the Global Solutions Initiative has agreed to cover before the purchase was made can be reimbursed.
The following expenses are eligible for reimbursement
– Travel expenses to and from Berlin (i.e. costs for train, bus or flight tickets [economy class])
– Visa costs and costs incurred in connection therewith
Costs which are excluded from reimbursement are:
– Vaccination costs
– Any travel or health insurances already concluded
7. What costs will be reimbursed if I cannot come to Berlin unexpectedly?
We are aware that, due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, or for other reasons, traveling to Berlin may not be possible for you at the time of the Global Solutions Summit. If the local situation in Berlin and/or in your home country does not allow you to travel to the summit in person, travel costs already incurred will be reimbursed for all scholarship awardees.
The scholarship awardee must provide the reason for the cancellation and proof of costs incurred. Costs that can be reimbursed include costs for transportation tickets, cancelation fees and/or visa costs. We will only refund expenses up to the amount of the total scholarship agreed upon in advance. Additional costs or damages resulting from a cancelation will not be reimbursed.
8. Do I need to be vaccinated against COVID-19?
Anyone can submit their application and be admitted to the semi-finals, entries do not require any proof of vaccination during the submission phase. However, all scholarship awardees (“finalists”) who want to attend the summit in person need to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and must abide by all relevant entry and travel regulations of the EU and Germany.
9. What if I need to quarantine upon arrival in Germany and/or upon my return?
The Global Solutions Initiative will not cover any costs that may incur because of a necessary quarantine or testing when entering Germany or when re-entering the country of departure.
Scholarship awardees travel at their own risk. It is within the awardee’s responsibility to obtain detailed information about all the consequences of travelling, in particular about the rules applicable on departure and return, quarantine and testing obligations, hygiene regulations and other rules of conduct.
10. What can I do if I have not received a confirmation email?
If you did not receive a confirmation email, please check your spam folder and look for an email by the sender “ScantToMail”. If you are still unable to find the confirmation email please send a private message to firstname.lastname@example.org with your first and last name. We will try to help you and check whether we received your application.
11. What is the status of my submission?
We are unable to provide any individual feedback on the status of the applications. We are dealing with far too many applications and mails to do this.
All applicants will receive feedback regarding the semi-finals in February, 2023. The finalists will receive a confirmation about their participation in the YGC Recoupling Award in March, 2023; the rejection emails will also be sent out by this date.
If you did not receive any feedback until the end of March please check your spam folder. If you are still unable to find the email from us, please send a message to email@example.com.
12. I cannot submit my application. The error code “error x” appears. What should I do?
We are sorry to hear that you are having troubles submitting your application!
The “error X” code usually appears when
- one of the mandatory fields is not filled in.
- one of the uploaded files is too large.
Please check again if all mandatory fields of the application form are filled in and that the maximum file size of 32 MB is not exceeded. If you still should have problems with the upload, please write us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org !
Do you have more questions?
Kindly have a look at the FAQ section above. In case this does not answer your questions, please do not hesitate to write to us at email@example.com!