Yours truly presenting the idea of The Laudato Si’ Challenge at The Vatican. Our chances of getting it approved, and launched, were virtually zero. We prevailed.
“I urgently appeal for a new dialogue about how we are shaping the future of our planet. We need a conversation which includes everyone, since the environmental challenge we are undergoing, and its human roots, concern and affect us all.” 
— His Holiness Pope Francis

The Remarkable Story of The Laudato Si’ Challenge

In November 2016, The Vatican welcomed leaders from around the world to The Pontifcal Academy of Sciences to discuss what His Holiness Pope Francis calls “the social economy,” and how it can beneft the world’s most vulnerable people.

Attendees were challenged to think intentionally and holistically about harnessing the energy of the world’s youth to devise sustainable solutions for climate change and human migration.

Three days of dialogue led to nine ideas for exploration. Two were approved. Ours was one.

His Eminence Cardinal Turkson would name our program “The Laudato Si’ Challenge,” an initiative to identify, accelerate and celebrate the most promising startups that align with His Holiness Pope Francis’ encyclical: Laudato Si’ — On Care for Our Common Home.

An extraordinary group of global entrepreneurs and investors came together to make it happen.

On May 5, 2017, that group convened at The Vatican with leaders, such as the President of the United Nations General Assembly, to launch The Laudato Si’ Challenge, Inspired by His Holiness Pope Francis at The Pontifcal Academy of Sciences.

Between May and June, the spirit of the program spread around the world as entrepreneurs applied to The Laudato Si’ Challenge.

In July 2017, 20 of the best and brightest young leaders traveled from 20 diferent countries to present their solutions to The Vatican. The teams began an immersive, eight-week program to scale their solutions that included poverty alleviation, waste management and clean energy.

The program began with a mass in the Tomb of St. Peter. His Eminence Cardinal Turkson advised The Laudato Si’ Challenge participants on modern-day leadership and how to run initiatives that are aligned with Laudato Si’ in both practice and spirit.

On December 5, 2017, the top nine teams will present their solutions on stage, and before the world, at a grand celebration at The Vatican. Each entrepreneur will present to 350 luminaries and dignitaries from 60+ countries, focusing on how their initiatives improve the lives of the world’s most vulnerable people.

This event will build momentum for the social economy — as we strive to build a future that includes everyone, everywhere.

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