Partnering to empower the next generation that will change the world

by Marisa Jansen van Vuuren

24 November 2020

A man working on his laptop in an office environment

I’m a big believer in having a challenger mindset – there’s no problem that doesn’t have a number of viable solutions. Nothing’s off the table when it comes to finding a new way forward. To me the definition of greatness is to change things for the better, and you can’t do that without challenging the status quo and asking uncomfortable questions.

As the world’s challenges mount, we must aim higher and go further. The private sector has a significant role to play in achieving the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. Actions made by business leaders today will impact our tomorrow. That’s why we recently became the official global technology services partner of Red Bull Basement, a worldwide hackathon that empowers university students to innovate with purpose to support a better world for all of us.

Quite often it’s university students who possess a fearless type of passion and a relentless drive to disrupt. Red Bull Basement leverages this zealousness and entrepreneurial spirit to drive positive change. Harnessing ideas from students in 40 countries around the world, Red Bull Basement pushes students to critically evaluate everyday challenges and use technology as a means to build and scale possible solutions.

Creating a one-of-a-kind online experience.

This year, many major events, including our own Tour de France client program , had to accelerate their adoption of virtual events as a means to engage with their audiences and run their programs. Red Bull is known for their epic and memorable face-to-face events and this year the Red Bull Basement program will be run virtually. Recreating the same energy and impact won’t be easy. Yet using the latest technology and online event platforms from our Cloud Communications Division means the strong sense of collaboration that the immersive, hands-on experience fueling the workshops will shine through. Hosting the program online provides the opportunity for even more participation and possibilities and Red Bull Basement is expecting a more pitches than previous years, with young entrepreneurs from all over the world encouraged to get involved.

Going online will expand participation and expose more great ideas

Beyond this, we’re applying technology services across the idea application phase, voting and selection, development, and during the final global workshop when a team of experts and mentors listen to the final pitches and choose a global winner.

Growth through purpose.

The 2020 open call for student innovators is likely to gather ideas around sustainability such as smart campuses, making education more accessible and tackling social anxiety. But when it comes to the ideas and pitches, the sky’s the limit. The premise of the program is to tear down one of the most significant barriers to innovation; the acceptance of ‘it’s that way because it’s always been that way’.

The idea behind last year’s Red Bull Basement winning idea, Audvice , was born from the lack of learning time that came from driving to and from campus. Creator Sophie Bolzer saw the need for an audio crowdsourcing platform for students to help them improve their learning outcomes. Today, through the resources and mentorship of Red Bull Basement, Audvice is now an early-stage, market-ready audio training tool for students, and now teams and organizations can facilitate effective knowledge sharing and learning experiences, wherever they are and whenever they want. Sophie credits her journey to the exposure to expert-level resources and leaders that she would never have had the opportunity to meet and learn from.

Enabling the next generation of innovators.

On a more personal level, I’m excited about the role technology plays in innovation and entrepreneurship, and proud to be involved in the Red Bull Basement program. I’m looking forward to learning from our youth and listening to curious and new ideas. If you’re a student, believe in yourself and take the opportunity to make change happen.

As a business committed to sustainable development, we continuously look for ways to take purposeful steps towards inspiring action and accelerating progress each year spending over USD 3.5 billion on innovation to make sure we’re continually moving in the right direction. Please read about our work as a Global Goals Business Avenger for Sustainable Cities and Communities and learn more about Red Bull Basement .

To find out more about Red Bull Basement click here.

Marisa Jansen van Vuuren

Marisa Jansen van Vuuren

Brand and Major Programmes