Denver, with it’s high density of start-ups, and multitude of collaborative working spaces, was the perfect launching point for the first Solutions Summit Bootcamp. This UN backed initiative focuses on promoting grassroots organizations and innovative entrepreneurs whose projects align with the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals, as adopted in 2015. Though focused on promoting and recording the success of these endeavors on a global scale, they rely on the local support of the participants home regions.
From March 31 through April 2, several co-working spaces in downtown Denver played host to 17 entrepreneurs from 11 countries, representing 15 companies. The stage of development of each of these companies varied from still in the Research & Developement process, to already deployed endevours that were interested in mentoring and marketing. Even with this variation, the goal of the summit was similar for all of them; to use their combined knowledge and skill to make life in their communities better.
One such company out of Ghana, Benben, led by Emmanuel Noah, is working on a project familiar to residents of western municipalities, but completely under-utilized in Ghana. The notion of electronic record keeping of property ownership is something the citizens of Denver take for granted. In rural Ghana, however, the paper based records currently in use are too easily lost, damaged, or corrupted. It’s easy to imagine how local residents can be impacted by such poor practices. Mr. Noah hopes to promote investment, reduce poverty, and encourage transparent natural-resource management through his interactive software.
Other companies attending the Summit are bringing ideas that are considered less convetional. Visionaries like DareWin’s founder, James Nestor, step completely outside the box. His company is working to translate the complex language of some whale species. Using advanced filming, recording, and free diving techniques, Mr. Nestor and his team hope to gain a better understanding of some of the most intelligent animals on the planet. This, in turn, will raise the global awareness of all ocean life, and how the health of the ocean is linked to the health of the Earth, as a whole.
Although the Flight to Denver Solutions Summit Bootcamp appears to have been an initial success, the real results will not be published until September. That’s when a final report will be presented in the Solutions Summit at the United Nations headquarters in New York City. Regardless of the final report, however, promoters here in Denver, such as Gov. John Hickenlooper, JB Holston, Dean of the Ritchie School of Engineering and Computer Science at DU, and Nina Sharma, associate director of Project X-ITE were thrilled to be part of the event. Their sentiment is echoed by Jon Slavet, general manager of WeWork – West. “We are proud to be part of this community.”