1:34 – The reason behind Tech For Impact
7:20 – Who’s the target student?
11:51 – Milestones so far
17:40 – Toughest challenge
25:56 – More about Alessandra
Alessandra Rojas is the manager of the EPFL Changemakers program, an incubator program which is part of the EPFL’s Tech4Impact initiative for accelerating ground-breaking and sustainable technological solutions to create positive societal and environmental impact. Alessandra Rojas was also a co-initiator of Versus Virus, a hackathon to develop solutions against the COVID 19 crisis.
As one of the world’s top universities for technology and science, EPFL is one of Switzerland’s most significant hubs for innovation. The EPFL Changemakers program emerged from the EPFL’s grant program and belongs to the unit of the Vice Presidency for Innovation at EPFL. Where previously entrepreneurs at EPFL were mostly supported through financial means such as grants, the goal of the Changemakers program is to provide more holistic support to early stage entrepreneurs and to make sustainability a cornerstone of what it means to be an EPFL startup. The program was launched in October of this year with a first cohort of 20 students across the Bachelor, Master and PhD level. Due to the challenging circumstances presented by the pandemic, the program has had to evolve rapidly over the past months. Nevertheless, the 20 students will receive 6 months of intensive training and mentoring through peers and experts and are on track to graduate successfully from the program in February 2021.
“Our GameChangers program has shown to us that the EPFL’s students’ interest in sustainable solutions is much higher than we had originally anticipated.”
“The changes that Covid has brought about have really helped startups with founders spread all across Switzerland cooperate better among themselves.”
If you would like to listen to more episodes on green startups, check out our conversations with André Borschberg, Anastasia Hofmann & Naomi MacKenzie, Jutta Jertrum, Nicholas Hänny, Mark Essam and Anaïs Matthey-Junod.