8 social start-ups, across 4 continents, with 300+ mentors and a global network!
Today, 54% of the world’s population live in urban areas, and this is expected to rise to 70% by 2030. Transport services and infrastructure, by comparison, have not kept up with this pace of urbanisation.
It is easy to hold an idealistic view of the future of mobility; an automated, green, smart, fast and connected mode of transport. But the reality today falls dismally short of expectations: traffic jams are increasingly part of our daily burden, our urban areas generate 75% of our global greenhouse gas emissions, whilst rural areas are increasingly being cut off from the rest of the world.
As a result, there are too many people that don’t have access to safe, efficient and sustainable transport, further fuelling the poverty gap. Evidently, innovative solutions in the transport and logistics space are sorely needed in order to provide equal access to opportunities.
YSB has joined forces with MAN Truck & Bus, a Munich-based manufacturer, to launch the ‘MAN Impact Accelerator’ and provide support to where it is needed the most. This programme supports start-ups that seek to harness the power of digital technology in innovative ways to tackle logistic, transport and mobility issues.
Eight start-ups stood out from the rest of the 80 applications, not only for their contribution to improve mobility issues, but for the ways their solutions have a wider social impact, for example in their strong entrepreneurial ethos, and initial success.
The start-ups have embarked on a six-month long journey through five mobility ecosystems; Paris, Munich, Mumbai, Capetown and San Francisco. Each program week is dedicated to specific themes and supported by a team of mentors that bring their industry expertise to the table. This encourages our start-ups to think beyond their local markets and apply their ideas to different context-specific issues across the world whilst connecting with other social entrepreneurs in the same field.
The diversity in resources, knowledge, and skills that each mentor has accumulated through years of experience has helped our start-ups reach new levels. Already, they are receiving some pivotal input from a diversity of companies such as AirBnB, Amazon, John Deere, Maersk Line and others.
We asked some of the leading mentors for their impressions about the first Program Week in Munich, and here’s what Eduardo Ruiz from Uber had to say: “It was a week of excitement and passion from everyone there. The family spirit created by the organisation humanized mentors to get rid of their ego and entrepreneurs to take feedback and act upon it. It is very fulfilling to help start-ups. It is an experience I highly recommend.
At YSB, we believe in the power of entrepreneurial spirit to tackle some of the most pressing social and environmental issues we are facing today. We believe that change can happen by bringing the right minds and hearts together in one room to not only write science but also social fiction. The accelerator helps us connect the social businesses to mentors and partners while exciting our corporate partners about the potential of social business – both for their own strategy as well as their purpose.
The Chairman of the General Works Council at MAN emphasises the significance of the programme from the point of view of employees: “Those of us who work at MAN support the company’s social commitment wholeheartedly – be it local, national or international. We are confident that many exciting ideas will come to fruition along the way.”
Stay tuned for our next blog post where we’ll introduce you to our start-ups and demonstrate their cutting-edge talent in the mobility, transport and logistics space.