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Among the first activities for collaboration is “UPSHIFT,” a youth social innovation and social entrepreneurship program designed primarily for marginalized or at-risk young people (14-24). UPSHIFT allows young people to learn 21st century transferable skills though experimental learning which has a proven ability to favor advanced leaning outcomes.

School children in India  developing an innovation idea as part of the UNICEF UPSHIFT program

In 2020, Hydro supports UPSHIFT for school children in India in the regions of Karnataka & Telangana. The program introduces principles of design thinking to the school children and teachers and develops a culture of innovation. It also promotes collaboration between the government, schools and businesses.

As part of the training, school children develop an innovation idea. Around 1000 ideas will be shortlisted using set criteria. 10 successful ideas will be selected for incubation. A mentorship collaboration will be developed with businesses to support the finalists for incubation. With the help of the mentors, the school children will continue product development until their innovation ideas become commercially viable.

Due to Covid-19, the innovation challenge was completed through an online learning platform on design thinking in local language.

In 2021, Hydro supports UPSHIFT for young refugees and migrants and disadvantaged Italian youth in Italy.