Inspiration

The inspiration came from 2 members of the team. Daniela got inspired when she randomly saw a call for innovation published by WACA (an NGO) looking for solutions to coastal erosion happening in West African countries. She realized that probably very few people saw this call for innovation. This made her think about how to increase the visibility for such calls and connect them to the right people. Su was working on a plastic recycling initiative in Africa, and she struggled with finding funding and partners for the project. She thought that a global sustainability platform enabling her to connect with relevant partners and donors could help her solve the problem.

What it does

PROBLEM:

1.Sustainability challenges are both local and global at the same time. While there are many local or national efforts, these challenges often don't respect the borders. We are currently lacking a globally coordinated response that would give space to the best minds in the world to come together and tackle them. Moreover, we lack a globally shared knowledge of such problems and their solutions.

2.There are several public and private organizations that publish calls for innovations on sustainability on their respective websites or social media, however, they may not reach the targeted groups. Furthermore, if they can resolve the problems, the solutions are not widely shared.

3.Many people are interested in contributing to sustainability-oriented projects (with their knowledge or resources). And many projects would need their contribution or expertise, but they are not connected.

SOLUTION:

A community platform that serves several purposes:

  1. A platform where an entity (a citizen, an organisation or a government) could place their call for action on sustainability-related problems. This would serve to aggregate all the calls around the world. The users registering the call to action would be asked to indicate whether they have funding for the problem or not.

  2. A platform where any researcher, expert or organization (consulting company, NGOs, etc.) can apply to participate in the call (point 1) through a project and look for teammates/partners to design a solution.

  3. A crowdfunding platform for innovative solutions to the problems (points 1) that do not have funding and that would reward the people (point 2) working on the solution.

  4. An open source space for sharing solutions to the problems (point 1). Once the project has been completed, the solution to the problem would be saved in a database and easy to retrieve through tagging system.

  5. A learning platform - apart from users being able to learn from the posted solutions (point 4), we will integrate the platform with courses and workshops relevant for the projects.

In a summary, the Ant-Tribe is a global community platform that:

  • connects innovative solutions to existing problem
  • enables citizens, professionals and organizations to collaborate on designing solutions
  • channels the resources from sponsors and donors to the sustainability projects on the platform.
  • creates an open source space for sharing the solutions.

How we built it

We used open-source Django e-commerce framework and we added some functionalities on top of that for the Ant-Tribe platform. We used Docker, Django and HTML,CSS,JS with Bootstrap from a ready template. This allowed us to create a crowdfunding solution easily, and add features on top. We now have

  • Crowdfunding
  • Blog
  • Creation of Action For Calls
  • Adding Projects to those Actions

Challenges we ran into

Challenges while creating:

  • Timezone differences: Team members located in different continents, time zones -proved challenging at times to arrange meetings.

Challenges for the business viability of the platform:

  1. How to get the right people to use the platform:
    • Citizens, Governments, NGOs to post their calls for innovation
    • Researchers and experts to participate
    • Citizens to crowdfund the projects
  2. The stimulus for sharing the outcomes and the solutions (e.g. why would a private company share its solution publicly?)
  3. How could we help evaluating the accuracy of the proposed solutions?

Accomplishments that we're proud of

In a very short period of time, we managed to develop the main functionalities for the platform. We have been able to take turns on sleeping and being awake :)

We have a working solution that we are very proud of and a great team that built it.

What we learned

Keeping to time-zone deadlines is quite challenging.

What's next for Ant-Tribe

  1. Validate the business model for the social enterprise / NGO
  2. Partner with professional organizations and investor networks
  3. Market the platform to professionals, companies and organizations to become part of the professional network and to submit calls for action and/or design solutions.
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