'Unreasonable Goals Program' Hosts Entrepreneurs Focused on SDGs

International Institute for Sustainable Development

July 2017: The Unreasonable Group, the US Department of State’s Office of Global Partnerships, and Johnson&Johnson hosted a two-week Unreasonable Goals program that brought together 16 entrepreneurial solutions, each of which aim to solve one of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The winning solutions have connected over 7 million job seekers in India, saved almost 3 billion gallons of water and 450 acres of forest, and reused 2.5 million kilograms of plastic waste, among other achievements.

Unreasonable Goals is a public-private partnership dedicated to engaging highly profitable entrepreneurs with cutting edge technologies in contributing to achieving the SDGs. The 2017 event was the inaugural Unreasonable Goals accelerator program. The program is expected to run annually until 2030, collaborating with over 200 entrepreneurs and dozens of multinationals and national government. Lowe’s, Thomson Reuters, Bluescape, Amazon Web Services, and PeaceTech Lab also collaborated on the 2017 program.

The winning solutions have already impacted nearly 45 million people in 45 countries and generated over US$85 million in revenue while saving almost 3 billion gallons of water and 450 acres of forest and reusing 2.5 million kilograms of plastic waste, among other achievements.

According to the US Department of State, the companies of the 16 entrepreneurs participating in the program have already impacted nearly 45 million people in 45 countries and generated over US$85 million in revenue. The 16 entrepreneurs in the accelerator program include:

  • Babjob for SDG 1 (no poverty), which connects aspiring workers with better job and enables employers to hire them through a digital platform in India
  • Agrinos for SDG 2 (zero hunger), which aims to improve farmer’s productivity and sustainability while reducing pesticide use and ensuring healthier soil
  • 1mg for SDG 3 (good health and well-being), which work to make healthcare understandable, accessible and affordable in India
  • Tamboro for SDG 4 (quality education), which provides an adaptive, game-based and personalized learning platform for basic education students in Brazil
  • Liberty & Justice for SDG 5 (gender equality), the first Fair Trade Certified apparel manufacturing company in Africa, with women serving as 25% of the company’s directors
  • Desalitech for SDG 6 (clean water and sanitation), which provides scale desalination and wastewater purification
  • Carnegie Clean Energy for SDG 7 (affordable and clean energy), which offers solar, wind and wave energy via microgrids alongside desalination and battery storage
  • Uncommon Cacao for SDG 8 (decent work and economic growth), which is working to build the world’s first transparency sourced, vertically integrated supply chain for cacao
  • SimpliPhiPower for SDG 9 (industry, innovation and infrastructure), which is designing and manufacturing safe, durable, efficient and scalable batteries for clean energy storage and management
  • Voz for SDG 10 (reduced inequalities), whose mission is to protect the livelihoods, well-being and cultural values of rural indigenous women around the world through ecologically sustainable and ethical luxury fashion
  • EcoPost for SDG 11 (sustainable cities and communities), which aims to transform plastic waste into a durable, eco-friendly and 100 percent recycle lumber substitute with a longer lifespan than wood
  • OrganoClick for SDG 12 (responsible consumption and production), which seeks to replace hazardous petroleum-based chemicals with non-toxic, bio-based chemicals and polymers
  • SEaB Energy for SDG 13 (climate action), which produces energy from waste using anaerobic digestion
  • Pelagic Data Systems for SDG 14 (life below water), which aims to improve fishers’ livelihoods and measure the impact of climate change on marine systems through a solar-powered data and tracking solution
  • EcoFlora Group for SDG 15 (life on land), which promotes sustainable crop protection through the development of plant-based extracts as alternatives to toxic and unhealthy pesticides and food additives
  • Colab for SDG 16 (peace, justice and strong institutions), which works to transform politics to enable citizens to participate in local government decision-making processes in Brazil

Alongside the inaugural Unreasonable Goals accelerator program, Thomson Reuters is publishing profiles on each of the participating companies. A story on 1mg describes how the healthcare app has contributed to 20 million doctor visits by revolutionizing how consumers find healthcare professionals and helping patients understand what their healthcare options are, including information on costs and lab tests. The Colab feature story highlights how the initiative empowers citizens to interact directly with their government through a social network platform that is contributing to greater transparency in city management and increased citizen participation in city decision-making processes. According to the story, more than 90% of the problems posted by users in 2,000 cities across Brazil have been fixed. 

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