or how UNDP, UNICEF and the City of Skopje established the first Biohacking Lab in Skopje
Inspiring Solutions for a Greener World
July 7, 2023
From Empty Lab to first prototypes and Solutions
Through the award-winning project “BioHack My World,” UNDP, UNICEF, and the City of Skopje established the first BioHacking Laboratory, putting Skopje on the map of cities in Easter Europe with such state-of-the-art, open, innovative space. The BioHack lab will serve as an acceleration hub that brings science closer to the community of entrepreneurs and will, spark curiosity and will serve as an inspiration to a new community of entrepreneurs, young people, and civil society enthusiasts that want to pursue activities in the realm of circularity with a focus, but not limited, to bio-waste.
One of our early hypotheses of the project, created as an option as part of the City Experiment Fund, was that with the establishment of such a laboratory will encourage a shift in narrative and act as a system transformation initiator that would inspire young people to shift their focus of interest to STEAM research and, in the near future, create economic opportunities, including start-ups. These spin-offs, we designed, will employ highly skilled labor by utilizing some burning environmental challenges, such as biowaste.
Skopje Bio Hack My World 2023 Challenge Call
In early April, UNDP joined forces with Solveo, an innovation consultancy company, to test this hypothesis by launching the first program for startups working with Biotechnologies. The Skopje'sBio Hack My World 2023 challenge had a core objective to discover are there remarkable teams, startups, entrepreneurs, and innovators with groundbreaking ideas aimed at addressing pressing environmental challenges and second to facilitate progress from the initial ideation phase to the achievement of tangible outcomes, be it a proof of principle, proof of concept, or the development of a Minimum Viable Product (MVP). Simultaneously, an important aim of the challenge was to generate increased recognition and understanding of the recently established Biohacking lab and its extensive capabilities. And all this within 3 weeks.
The challenge garnered significant attention. 44k people were reached on social media through various social media campaigns, 37 participants started the program who created 11 proof of principles or MVPs. The and participation, with 37 individuals forming 11 diverse teams. Following the Design Thinking methodology used by leading Startup Accelerators such as YCombinator, the teams managed to identify the customer's needs, rapidly create and test prototypes, and bring new innovative solutions that fit the identified needs. All teams underwent the 5 cyclical stages: empathize, define, ideate, and prototype. All converged to explore new horizons, leveraging biowaste to create innovative solutions.
A core aspect of the Bio Hack My World 2023 challenge was the development of innovative solutions that can be presented to the general public in an open day called Demo Day. The Demo Day highlighted the immense potential and groundbreaking work of the participating startups, entrepreneurs, and innovators. A day that offered an invaluable opportunity for the teams and startups to demonstrate the tangible impact and viability of their solutions to potential customers and investors, paving the way for future collaborations and partnerships. Or as they become widely known as the local innovators, the unsung climate action heroes.
The Innovative Solutions
The future of sustainability lies in the hands of innovators who challenge conventional norms and champion environmentally conscious solutions. As we've explored the inspiring initiatives presented by these visionary teams, we are reminded of the power each individual holds to create lasting change. By embracing these solutions, we actively contribute to waste reduction, resource conservation, and establishing a greener world. Let's unite in celebrating and supporting these pioneers as they continue to inspire positive change and foster a healthier planet for future generations.
The Innovative Solutions that are the Future for a better sustainable life:
Outcomes of the Challenge
The Bio Hack My World 2023 challenge marked a significant milestone in North Macedonia's journey towards fostering innovation, collaboration, and sustainable solutions in biotechnology and biowaste transformation. This pioneering initiative brought together a diverse array of stakeholders, including startups, entrepreneurs, investors, industry experts, and policymakers, all united in their mission to tackle the pressing challenges of waste management and harness the potential of biotechnology for a more sustainable future.
One of the notable outcomes of the challenge was the heightened awareness and interest in biotechnology and biowaste transformation.
The Challenge also played a pivotal role in strengthening the startup ecosystem. By providing enhanced support and resources tailored specifically for biotechnology startups, the ecosystem experienced a significant boost. The event fostered a culture of collaboration and knowledge-sharing among startups, mentors, and experts, catalyzing further growth and innovation within the sector.
Moreover, Bio Hack My World 2023 played a pivotal role in enhancing North Macedonia's reputation and visibility as a regional leader in biotechnology and sustainable waste management. The event garnered positive media coverage and PR exposure, showcasing the country's commitment to innovation and sustainability while highlighting the achievements of the participating stakeholders.
Looking ahead, the long-term impact of Bio Hack My World 2023 is expected to be profound. The event has set the stage for the continued growth of the biotechnology sector in North Macedonia. It has laid the foundation for the development and implementation of sustainable solutions for waste management and environmental conservation. In turn, these advancements are poised to generate economic and social benefits through job creation, innovation, and sustainable development goals.
Overall, Bio Hack My World 2023 has left an indelible mark on North Macedonia's journey toward a more sustainable and innovative future. By catalyzing collaborations, inspiring innovation, influencing policy, and raising awareness, the event has positioned the country as a frontrunner in the biotechnology landscape, with the potential to drive lasting positive change in waste management practices and beyond.