Business innovation and social commitment: Prosegur Foundation commitment to university talent

Twenty-five Colombian higher education students shared their solutions to a social challenge in this innovation competition that promotes young talent, in partnership with Hunger4innovation.

Solving a practical business problem within 24 hours. This was the challenge that participants faced in the first Colombian edition of a Hunger4Innovation-backed innovation contest created to identify and connect university talent with leading companies in their respective sectors, and thus help consolidate an ecosystem focused on finding solutions to real the problems in organisations.

This initiative was coordinated together with the Spanish Chamber of Commerce in Colombia, and involved 75 students selected from over 450 applications submitted by the 29 Colombian higher education institutions participating in the call for applications. These included renowned institutions such as Colombian National University, Sabana University, Rosario University, Externado University, ITM, EAFIT, ICESI University, Pontifical Xavierian University, University of Antioquia and the Autonomous University of Bucaramanga.

Three companies sponsored this pioneering experience: Prosegur (through its namesake foundation), BBVA and Philippi Prietocarrizosa Ferrero DU & Uría (PPU Legal). Each one presented students with a challenge related to their activity, with the aim of finding innovative solutions and "out of the box" ideas. Prosegur Foundation's was: How can we incorporate the innovative educational initiatives already implemented in Piecitos Colorados into other schools in an agile and measurable way?

This initiative was coordinated together with the Spanish Chamber of Commerce in Colombia, and involved 75 students selected from over 450 applications submitted

 

Piecitos Colorados is Prosegur Foundation's Development Cooperation programme for improving the comprehensive education of children in vulnerable areas of Latin America. Already in place in Argentina, Chile, Paraguay, Peru and Uruguay. In Colombia, the programme benefits 820 students from 8 educational centres throughout different regions. Participants who took up the Foundation's challenge were called on to render the project scalable, putting people at the centre of the actions, enhancing know-how and considering technology as a key medium.

 

Agents of change

The students who had to respond to the Prosegur challenge were divided into five working groups. Throughout these 24 particularly intense hours, with hardly any rest, they set about the task of, first of all, finding out in depth about Piecitos Colorados, its general functioning, its educational philosophy and the concrete conditions in which it operates. They then focused on the design of possible strategies with the aim of generating a systemic impact of the educational innovation actions already tested in the Piecitos Colorados schools on other educational centres with similar characteristics.

Of the five proposals presented, the winner was "Aprendiendo & Enseñando" (Learning & Teaching), by the group Los Rolos, an original action programme that aims to involve Piecitos Colorados' agents of change (teachers, collaborators and students of the programme) so that they can become channels for the transmission of knowledge, with the necessary logistical and technological support. The five young people in the winning group are studying Industrial Engineering, Business Administration and International Business at the Colombian National University and the University of La Sabana.

After the experience, Durán explained that “we are excited and surprised with what we have seen in this innovation day”. “It has been a wonderful learning experience, also for us as an entity, in which we have seen young Colombians very involved and committed to something that we at the Foundation consider essential for the development of a country: education”. Durán says selecting a winner was no easy task: “Every team submitted interesting proposals that could be implemented and/or complemented in the future, discovering the potential of these young people as agents to contribute to the improvement of their communities”.

The Prosegur Foundation is committed to promoting innovation and the use of synergies between different social projects, with the aim of offering efficient, creative and sustainable solutions to the challenges of today's world. The common denominator of most of these initiatives is none other than supporting young people through education as the most powerful tool for future development. The foundation thus contributes to the progress of the 15 countries where it operates: Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Spain, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Paraguay, Peru, Portugal, Singapore and Uruguay.

 

Innovation and talent

The innovation challenges driven by Hunger4Innovation are aligned with three of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals: quality education (SDG4), decent work and economic growth (SDG8), and partnerships for the goals (SDG17). Although the development of these initiatives is, above all, competitive, recreational and educational, their ultimate goal is to detect a specific type of young talent: which, beyond the academic curriculum, can be oriented towards the optimal resolution of concrete challenges by making use of disruptive thinking patterns.  

At Hunger4innovation we are aware of the need for companies to innovate and to receive 'out of the box' solutions. We offer these leading organisations the opportunity to define and identify internal challenges that they will present to students of a new generation. This allows them to come up with disruptive and viable solutions from a different perspective. Implementing innovative processes or tools and thus adapting their products and services to the customers of the future. We work to connect the best young talent with leading companies in their sectors. The aim is not only to present the solutions, but also to implement them and to attract the talent best suited to today's digital environment. Our mission at Hunger4innovation is to serve as an open innovation partner for leading companies", explains Sixto Lecuona, COO and Co-Founder of Hunger4Innovation.

At Hunger4innovation we are aware of the need for companies to innovate and to receive 'out of the box' solutions. We offer these leading organisations the opportunity to define and identify internal challenges that they will present to students of a new generation.

Prosegur believes that these are the type of initiatives with transformative potential in which the company is willing to get involved, because they fit perfectly with its commitment to creative disruption. Yago Palao, Regional Director of Prosegur Cash Latam North, sums up the general philosophy of the multinational he represents with the following words: “We believe that innovation is one of the main pillars of our business model. The company's purpose is clear: caring for people and businesses, making the world a safer and more secure place, while remaining at the forefront of innovation. That is the basis of our corporate culture and, thanks to that culture, coupled with new technologies in artificial intelligence, data science, internet of things, robot and 3D printing, and even augmented reality, we deploy this concept of innovative security, both in the physical and virtual world. Achieving this goal requires recruiting talent. And up-and-coming talent is rising to prominence thanks to initiatives by partners such as Hunger4Innovation”.