Last year, IH Belfast and ESL set a unique challenge to entrepreneurs in Colombia.
The challenge was to design an app focused on sustainability and social responsibility, and the winner would get to realise their vision in Belfast. Entrants created 90-second videos on the themes of People & Planet. The competition was shared across Colombia online, on radio and of course by ESL. During a visit promoting the contest, IH Belfast director Paul McMullan was even interviewed live on air in Spanish!
The idea originally came from Javier Perdomo, a good friend of IH Belfast and the Regional Manager at ESL Latin America. Like Northern Ireland, Colombia is stepping away from a negative past and entrepreneurial youths are taking ownership of their futures. Belfast and Colombia have shared histories, in darker times but also in more recent movements towards peace. ESL and IH Belfast wanted to progress this bond through positive practices in business and social responsibility.
Why choose a sustainable development App?
In 2015 IH Belfast worked with ESL to create and implement a sustainable development plan. The plan changed how the school disposed of waste, measured energy usage and emphasised using technology to be more green. The policy encourages students and staff to use sustainable transport, act green and source suppliers with eco-policies. This year, for example, IH Belfast swapped the mass-printed paper brochure for a VR experience. Belfast itself has had a similar transformation, the shipbuilding ports now manufacture wave and wind energy products.
The App contest reflected a marriage of ideas at IH Belfast, sustainable development met a desire to remain at the forefront of tech.
On Monday IH Belfast welcomed Martha Lilliana Marín, a 28-year-old industrial designer with a love of ecotourism (of which she has done a lot!). Martha puts product design and environment at the heart of her work accrediting her design style to her travels. After graduating from the Catholic University of Pereira, Martha focused on product and interior design. Her approach allowed her to combine her work with her passion for travelling.
The App’s main function is to connect sustainable development with the IH Belfast staff, students and teachers. It will offer users advice on eco transport in Belfast as well as giving simple tips on green living. The App hopes to encourage groups of users to plant and maintain trees. Key to the App’s success will be driving eco communication through upcycling old ideas and bringing them back to life. The App will be available in late October, follow progress via the IH Belfast Facebook page and in our latest news section.