Laudato Sì: startups to be spotlighted at the Vatican

Challenge inspired by Pope Francis currently underway

Cristina M. Chahine
October 27, 2017 - 17:27

Startups from around the globe are looking to the “Eternal City” for guidance in building a sustainable future. “The Laudato Sì Challenge”, inspired by Pope Francis’ second encyclical, “Laudato Sì”, subtitled “On Care For Our Common Home” and addressed to “every person living” on Earth, is currently applying a Silicon Valley approach to long-term preservation of the planet.


Twelve semi-finalist startups were selected from a pool of 50 after a rigorous application process. Each organization has a long-term mission aligned with those of the United Nations, aiming to provide sustainable solutions for energy, food, water and conservation, and working to mitigate the effects of climate change and involuntary migration. All of the semi-finalists took part in a summer 2017 “accelerator period” held in Rome, during which they received mentorship, 100,000 USD in funds, and support from leading educators and partners of the project, among them Facebook, the Earth Day Network and the University of Southern California. The goal for the two-month period was to help the startups better define their products and services and "emerge as fully investable enterprises," according to the project website.


Six finalists were chosen and are now back at their home bases, preparing for the challenge's culmination: a December 2017 Demo Day at the Pontifical Academy of Sciences in the Vatican, during which they will present their game-changing products and services to the world. Various potential investors and influencers will attend, and organizations will be expected to demonstrate the impact, feasibility and profitability of their proposed solutions as they vie to secure more funds.



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