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Align SDGs with your start-up mission, advises Mountain
There has never been a better time to gain clarity about how to align your start-up with one of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This is the advice of Nicole Mountain, a Cape Town-born global start-up ecosystem lead hand-picked for the Young Global Pioneers learning and networking lab at Oxford University.
Speaking to Ventureburn from England, Mountain says following her global interactions with business leaders, it is clear that technology start-ups needed a proactive approach to creating sustainable technologies.
“If you’re building a start-up, incorporating SDGs will become a part of your strategy whether you’ve been intentional about implementing them or not,” she says. “In fact, most times, entrepreneurs overlook that they’re already being an active participant. Consequently the opportunity for impact and measurement gets lost.”
Mountain describes the SDGs as a “fundamental cornerstone” for how businesses should operate and impact its stakeholders. While the Oxford-based opportunity was a big personal milestone, she also experienced it as “a great opportunity to showcase diverse South African intellectuals innovating for the SDGS within an African context.”
Inequality in climate costs
This week, Young Global Pioneers cohort members also participated in the Unleash Oxford Hack, an event focused on everything from problem framing to pitching. Participants learned and applied different tools for tackling specific climate action challenges.
“We were challenged to create new and innovative ideas to solve sustainable development limitations with a focus on SDG 13 on climate action,” says Mountain. “These hackathons were deeply thematic. My focus was on inequality in climate costs. I looked forward to the research sprints and collaborating with peers focused on mobilising for action to combat climate change in this regard.”
Forums like UNLEASH Innovation Lab and Young Global Pioneers have a strong global track record of inspiring youth around the world to co-create a sustainable future, she adds.
“The value of these convenings are far beyond simply attending seminars or learning-and-leaving. Through Young Global Pioneers, we have been introduced to the frameworks and methodologies that enable prototyping and co-creating for sustainable development.
“The skills around prototyping and practicing responsible leadership have crossed over into my professional life on many occasions. Being intentional about intercultural exchange has been the same yardstick I’ve used to become an active contributor to the SDGs within the African context.”
Mountain previously led the Young Global Pioneers network after becoming one of South Africa’s first global talents to be selected for the prestigious programme in 2015. She was also the award-winning co-creator of the 2018 Barclays Africa Hackathonfocused on solving what was the country’s count-down to a provincial Day Zero.
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