Young Brazilian social entrepreneurs recently boarded a ship with the Amazon as their backdrop to work on projects designed to have a positive impact on the capital and largest city in the State of Amazonas. Coca-Cola Brazil, through its open innovation platform Coca-Cola Open Up,  promoted The Boat Challenge. The event invited social entrepreneurs from Manaus to explore ideas on the region's social-economic development.

Participants started the journey on June 28, leaving from the Parintins Folkloric Festival. For two days, they floated up the Amazon River toward the capital, debating and creating projects with the potential to transform the city. The action was supported by the Global Shapers Community, a network of youth promoted by the World Economic Forum that joins together young people who work in different areas of operations from the world's main cities in a large network of contracts with one goal in mind: "Think globally, act locally."

 The Boat Challenge

The themes for the challenge were Education, Environment, Generation of Jobs and Income, Health and Safety. The participants were pre-selected through videos posted on the event's Facebook page, created especially for the registration process. The page received 4,400 views, and 121 ideas were posted.

Pedro Massa, shared value director at Coca-Cola Brazil, says it's time to bring private initiatives and social entrepreneurs together. “It is not possible to work with Shared Value alone," he said. "That is why we work with partners like the Manaus Global Shapers, Up Global, Google, Sustainable Brands, Sustainable Amazonas Foundation and Impact Hub to develop concrete actions and position our business increasingly more strategically to focus on local development and the generation of shared value. There is nothing better than starting in Manaus, a region with great potential." 

 The Boat Challenge
Pedro Massa, shared value director, Coca-Cola Brazil

Onboard the ship, the entrepreneurs received the support of a team of mentors formed by specialists in a range of different areas. The projects were evaluated by a judges' panel that included representatives from government, academia, the private sector and NGOs. The winning initiative, Amazon Share, aims to connect tourists with Amazonian communities to offer real-life experiences with the riverside population. In addition to providing seed money, the project will be incubated by the Impact Hub – a global network of entrepreneurs who connect to generate social impact. 

Four additional projects will receive the same incubation for six months:

Dry Toilets, supplier of bowels for dry toilets, with the collection of material for composting and later sale of fertilizer.

EduMoney, provider of financial education programs with innovative methodology designed for women.

Empower, a platform for vocational discovery and youth empowerment.

Health in Your Own Hands, provider of governance and scheduling of medical appointments using a digital platform.

About Coca-Cola Open UP

Coca-Cola Open Up is the Coca-Cola Brazil open innovation platform, designed to serve as a hub for collaboration and co-creation between the company and society – consumers, communities, startups and even suppliers. The platform has two channels: one is ‘Open Ideas,’ developed in partnership with Innoscience, which looks for high value innovative ideas for the consumer through different online "challenges." Another channel is ‘Open Opportunities,' developed with Artemisia, focused on attracting startups that have a social-environmental impact and using the company's value chain to accelerate their progress. Later, specific and customized challenges are created for a specific topic or region.

About the Parintins Festival

The festival is a popular celebration held annually during the last weekend of June in the Brazilian city of Parintins, State of Amazonas. It involves the outdoor performances of several different folkloric associations, culminating in the competition between two folkloric bulls, "Guaranteed Bull," which is red, " and "Capricious Bull," which is blue. The performance takes place in an arena called the Bumbódromo. Now in its 50th edition, the Parintins Festival is one of the most important disseminators of local culture, and Coca-Cola Brazil has been the event's master sponsor for the past 21 years. During the three nights of the performance, the two bulls explore regional themes including legends, indigenous rituals and the customs of the riverside communities using allegories, music and play-acting.