Partnering to empower the next generation that will change the world

by Marisa Jansen van Vuuren

21 September 2021

Team in a workshop

Partnering to empower and connect the next generation that will change the world

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 today, so that it has a lasting impact on tomorrow. You can’t achieve that without challenging the status quo and asking the 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 Sustainable Development Goals. That’s why we‘re partnering as the Official Technology Services Partner of Red Bull Basement, a worldwide hackathon that empowers university students to innovate with purpose to create positive change.

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 45 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.

Team in a virtual meeting 

We strengthen the partnership with Red Bull Basement to create hybrid experiences that inspire the next generation of changemakers

Creating a one-of-a-kind online experience

This year as the world is still adjusting to the new normal we enable participants to co-innovate by providing hybrid event services. Our Cloud Communications Division will provide a virtual platform for live and hybrid events, while NTT Disruption will enhance the Global Final by transporting students into a 3D space using VR/AR technologies so attendees can collaborate, brainstorm, and realize their ideas in a virtual world.

Last year our virtual event services provided Red Bull Basement with the business continuity they needed during the pandemic. This year we look forward to breaking down the barriers between virtual and physical events to support innovation at scale during Red Bull Basement 2021. Hosting the program online provides the opportunity for even more participation and possibilities and Red Bull Basement is expecting more applications than previous years, with young entrepreneurs from all over the world encouraged to get involved.

Beyond this, we’re applying technology services across the Application, Selection, Development phase, and during the Global Final when a team of experts and mentors listen to the final pitches and choose a global winner.

Growth through purpose

The 2021 open call for student innovators is likely to gather ideas around sustainability such as smart campuses and cities, 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’.

Last year’s Red Bull Basement winning idea, Lava Aqua X, designed a portable washing machine that uses filtered shower water to wash clothes, helping students wash their laundry more efficiently and sustainably. A cheaper, quicker, and more environmentally friendly machine that is compact enough for student accommodations but also opens the door to make an impact in other communities.

The next generation of innovators 

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 once again. 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