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UNLEASH HACKS 2020 | Brazil

Atualizado: 11 de jul. de 2021

Prototyping solutions for the Covid-19 crisis in Brazil to achieve SDG 9 and 13.


UNLEASH is a global innovation lab for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Every year, 1.000 participants (a.k.a talents) from all over the world unite in the same city to collaboratively develop sustainable solutions using the UNLEASH methodology. In 2020, in order to overcome the difficulties caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, UNLEASH adapted to 17 virtual local hackathons (UNLEASH Hacks), organized and hosted by groups of alumni.

On the 21st and 22nd of November 2020, the UNLEASH Hacks took place for the very first time in Brazil. Co-organized by Youth Climate Leaders (YCL) and MeViro, the edition was 100% online and free. The difference from the majority of Climathons, was the focus on the prototyping phase. After participating in ideation hackathons, the Brazilian organizing team decided that it was time to take a step towards prototyping climate solutions because there were already many incredible ideas that could be taken to the next level through the UNLEASH methodology. The event flourished with a total of 56 people involved: 26 participants from 4 countries (22 Brazil, 1 China, 1 Kenya, 1 Netherlands, 1 United Kingdom), 21 experts, 3 judges, 4 facilitators and 4 members from the organizing team.

The Hack had the overarching goal of fostering a sustainable Covid-19 recovery in Brazil through prototyping climate solutions, focussing on SDG 9 (Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure) and SDG 13 (Climate Action). Four Idea Leaders presented their projects to an audience of Idea Teammates. Afterwards, the four teams were formed: (1) Ambientalking, (2) Ecoradoria, (3) Amazen and (4) Turtle Box. Each team had between 5 to 7 talents.

The teams went through a process of improving their prototypes using the UNLEASH methodology, which consists of Activity Cards, Gate Checks, Progress Checks, and peer feedback sessions. When prototypes pass the testing phase, they have the capacity to transform into climate start-ups which could subsequently make a positive impact on the recovery of Brazil after the Covid-19 crisis. After working together during the weekend developing the prototypes, the teams presented the closing pitch below:


1. Ambientalking

Idea Leader: Isvilaine da Silva

A digital platform to connect tourists with local people through providing more visibility to local entrepreneurs who already engage with the local communities, but lack the resources to get the desired visibility to attract more tourists. Indigenous and traditional people are suffering from environmental racism and recently also from the adverse effects of climate change and the covid-19 crisis. Through the platform Ambientalking, tourists have the opportunity to connect and interact with local people to experience their cultures and customs that they usually would never have been able to connect with. There are possible ways to finance our platform, such as a free 30-day trial, a paid version to unlock all opportunities, or a pay-per-service. The goal is to conduct a pilot with the Kalunga quilombola community, they live in Cavalcante (Chapada dos Veadeiros, Goiás) and have lived here for centuries.

Instagram: @ambientalking

2. Ecoradoria

Idea Leader: Manoela Radtke

Ecoradoria is an idea led by Manoela Radtke to broaden connections on social sustainability. This project is a content platform for information and sustainable initiatives from a social perspective, which aims to connect society, grassroots movements, and private businesses. Currently, we observe 1) the general public with too much information available online, but in a lack of deep insights on social sustainability; 2) grassroots initiatives that need visibility and sponsorship; 3) companies that wish to have a meaningful social-environmental image. What if we create bridges between them? Ecoradoria, as a non-profitable organization, pretends to become a hub of education, communication, and partnerships towards a social sustainability network.

3. Amazen

Idea Leader: Luiza Rabelo

This idea led by Luiza Rabelo consists of empowering indigenous people and local communities from the Amazon forest by connecting them with a wider national and international market for their traditional and sustainable forest-based production. These communities could best be seen as guardians of the forest: their livelihoods are deeply connected to a living and thriving forest and their territories function as the strongest barriers to current deforestation trends. Yet, these communities suffer from marginalisation, discrimination and poverty, and have been hard hit by the current covid-19 crisis. Whereas the offset of their production is usually intermittent and limited to the local scale, AMAZEN aims to connect the local products (foods, oils & handcrafts) to wider markets, tapping on the growing consumer demand for sustainable products and fair trade. AMAZEN - The Living Forest Repository will partner up with communities, and women in particular, interested in accessing new markets in order to achieve a sustainable and culturally appropriate source of income through a fair and transparent exchange. The ultimate goal is to strengthen a sustainable economic model, based on a living and thriving forest for the benefit of local communities, nature and climate.

4. Turtle Box

Idea Leader: Luisa Miaw

In Brazil, we have more than 1 million meal orders in delivery apps per day using a huge amount of packages. They become part of the 25 thousand tons of packages that end up in landfills every day, since 80% of them are single-use items and only 3% of waste is recycled here. Turtle Box comes up to solve this problem in a very simple way, through reverse logistics of reusable packages. End consumers order their meal in a delivery app and choose to receive their order in a Turtle Box meal boxes. After consumption, customers fill out a form and choose when Turtle Box can pick up the meal boxes. We collect, sanitize and return them to restaurants for a new cycle. All this, without increasing costs for restaurants and offering prizes to customers.We want sustainability to be something so simple that people look back and see how absurd their actions were in the past.


Linkedin: Turtle Box


Congratulations to all 26 participants! They are all now part of the UNLEASH Alumni Network, forming a broader community of global talents through the UNLEASH Platform, a virtual community totally oriented to the SDGs.


In order to stimulate the further development of the solutions, UNLEASH provided cash prizes in US dollars for the three winners: $500 for the first place, $300 for the second place, and $200 for the third place.

The Water Environment Federation, represented by the lead facilitator Barry Liner, offered an extra $100 for all of the four teams.

Youth Climate Leaders provided for all participants 2 prizes. The first prize was a 15% discount on the YCL Course 2021 to learn about climate change in theory, understand it in practice, work on projects with other young people and join the international network of young climate leaders. The second prize was access to the YCL Network/Hubs, which are already active in several countries (Brazil, Portugal, Italy & The United States). The YCL Hubs are innovation-oriented spaces that act as platforms to locally coordinate, foster, and multiply climate solutions and activities, while being interconnected by the Global YCL Network. Last but not least, the partner Climate Ventures provided an amazing extra prize for the winner team: A fast-track for the finals of the Climate Launchpad 2021.


Climate Ventures and Movimento Choice were ecosystem partners for the UNLEASH Hacks Brazil 2020. In addition to promoting the event, Movimento Choice also gathered an incredible group of experts and Climate Ventures a fast-track for the finals of the Climate Launchpad 2021 for the winning team.


Amanda Lima is a Project Director at MeViro, where she dedicates to co-construct innovative projects to a more inclusive and resilient world. She holds a Master’s degree in Sustainable Development from UnB. Before becoming an entrepreneur, she worked as an Analyst to SDG at PNUD. Currently, Amanda is a Fellow at Social Good Brasil and at Program CUNY Emerging Leaders International Fellow Program.

Cassia Moraes is Co-Founder & CEO at YCL (Youth Climate Leaders). She has experience working on sustainable development and international cooperation in the public, private and third sectors. Previously, she served as Deputy Executive Coordinator at the Brazilian Climate Change Forum and worked as a consultant at CIVICUS, UNDP and the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN). Cassia holds an MPA degree in Development Practice from Columbia University.

Clara de Queiroz is an Urbanist and YCL Fellow. She holds a Master's degree in Urban Management and Development from the Institute for Housing & Urban Development Studies (IHS) of Erasmus University Rotterdam, with an emphasis on Sustainability and Climate Change. Passionate about Nature-Based Solutions (NBS), her purpose is to contribute as a connecting agent between multiple actors to solve social, environmental and economic challenges.

Kleber Eduardo Vicente dos Santos is an Innovation Analyst at the Brazilian Center for Research in Energy and Materials - CNPEM, Startup Mentor at PIPE FAPESP, and Judge at MIT Inclusive Innovation Challenge. He is a Chemical Engineer and Master Student at The University of Campinas - Unicamp.


The final pitches were presented to three judges who evaluated the teams according to the following criteria: Innovation (30%), Impact potencial (30%), Viability (30%) and Performance (10%). The panel of judges was composed of three young Brazilian references on climate innovation: Karina Penha, Lucas Bernar and Lucas Nieto.

Karina Penha: From the Brazilian state of Maranhão, Karina is a 24-year-old biologist and socio-environmental activist. Member of the International Exchange Alumni (a network of global leaders), where she led the network of youth protagonism USBEA Maranhão. Mobilizer in NOSSAS Network and Articulator in Engajamundo Youth Organization, and has served as Coordinator of the Climate Working Group for the past two years. Karina has organized several innovation labs (e.g. D3 Lab), and has participated in leadership programs (e.g. SUSI on Social Entrepreneurship).

Lucas Bernar: Entrepreneur and engineer experienced in product development, business modelling, social impact, impact investing, design thinking and research. Lucas led the Movimento Choice, is part of Global Shapers (from the WEF), and currently works as a product manager at Pipe Social. He graduated in engineering from USP at the University of British Columbia with 2 different degrees: A degree in Innovation and Technology at the Hebrew University (Jerusalem, Israel), and a degree in Creative Cities at Tsinghua University (Beijing, China).

Lucas Nieto: Project manager for climate entrepreneurship projects at Climate Ventures, where he guides startups in refining their projects to increase their impact. Lucas is also the coordinator of ClimateLaunchpad and What Design Can Do. He has worked in a multinational company, a family business, and he founded his 2 businesses by himself. Graduated in Communication and Marketing at ESPM, holds an MBA in Sustainability at FGV.


The 16-hour hackathon was supported by four experienced UNLEASH facilitators:


The experts were responsible for guiding the teams within their thematic area of expertise. Feedbacks focused on ensuring that problems and solutions were grounded in reality, and that relevant prior work and partners were identified. Check the list with all experts HERE.

TESTIMONY, by Wilco Van Varik

Innovation, empowerment, enthusiasm, lack of sleep, new friendships, chaos... These are all aspects that characterized the UNLEASH Hack Brazil 2020 on the weekend of Saturday the 21st and Sunday the 22nd of November. This Hack was not like any other due to the Covid-19 crisis: it was completely online! Whereas some fights had to be fought to overcome the difficulties caused by the platform Zoom (such as the separate breakout rooms), the outcome of the Hack couldn’t have been more beautiful!

It all started on November the 19th with a meeting to break the ice between the participants and to get to know the ideas of the ‘idea leaders’ so the participants were able to decide upon the idea they wanted to work on. All participants subsequently were asked to fill in a form with 3 of their favorite ideas. Next day, the participants met at 9:00 in the morning and the final groups were revealed. In total there were 4 teams: Ambientalking, Ecoradoria, Amazen and Turtle Box. Each of these teams was assigned between 4-6 participants, based on the preference indicated earlier. Before the groups were splitting up to get to know each other, an introduction was given to the UNLEASH methodology, deadlines and the Miro-board. This last one is an interactive platform used by UNLEASH with all the information and tools of the Hack, which can be accessed and even edited by all the participants. Each team also received a private Miro space, which can be used to draw, design and write ideas during the process.

After this short introduction, the team received a class about prototyping, which was followed by group sessions to develop the group ideas further. After an intense hour and a half, it was time for lunch, which was followed by a recap session and a peer review of the other groups. Now, the biggest challenge began: Finishing the prototype and passing the ‘gates’ (official points of evaluation). This was easier said than done! In order to pass the gate, the idea had to go through several stages through the use of the ‘scorecards’ (the UNLEASH methodology). Luckily, the teams were not alone! During the entire day it was possible to request the help of experts and at the end of the day all experts were visiting the individual breakout rooms of the teams to help and guide them. The day officially ended at 19:00 with a beautiful group picture of satisfied, but exhausted participants.

Now, the time has come for day 2, the day that the final idea needs to be delivered through a 3-minute pitch. Whereas some groups (like mine) did not even pass the first gate yet, others were already on the right track. Even though the UNLEASH methodology has clear phases and steps to follow, the actual innovation process doesn’t let itself capture that easily. The teams went through a continuous process of going back and forth through the entire process, which led to some sudden advancements and stumbling blocks along the way. Our team finally managed to pass the first gate and enter the prototyping phase around 12:00, which left us with about 6 hours (lunchtime included) to develop this idea into a solid plan. At this point it was complete chaos, we all had to give our 100% to make it on time for the final pitch. This moment (the final pitch) was paramount, since this is where the final groups were being evaluated on.You could feel the tension in the air during the final pitches, but it was amazing to see how fast the ideas developed and progressed during this weekend! I want to congratulate Amazen (the winner) and everyone who participated. It was an absolute joy to meet everyone and be part of this amazing weekend and network. I hope to see everyone at the next Hack again!!


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