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North Sea Sustainable Innovation Challenge

As part of the PROWAD Link project, Campus Fryslân organized a competition for local entrepreneurs, students and other North Sea enthusiasts to contribute to innovation and sustainable development in the North Sea region. Over the last three years of the project, PROWAD Link had already initiated several (research) projects in close collaboration with local entrepreneurs, students and stakeholders, but with the ‘North Sea Sustainable Innovation Challenge’, the goal is to support local actors with the development of their own ideas.

How does it work?

Up until March 2022, everyone with an initiative or innovative idea for a happier and healthier North Sea region was welcome to participate in the challenge. The main requirement for participation was that the idea had to address a local social, economic, environmental or heritage issue in the North Sea region. To support the potential candidates, several offline and online Design Thinking bootcamps were hosted by Campus Fryslân to give feedback and fine-tune their ideas before submission. The registered applicants participated from the United Kingdom, Denmark, Germany and the Netherlands and aimed to solve local concerns in the field of tourism, renewable energy, nature conservation, avoiding water pollution, strengthening cultural connections among residents and many more.

Tailored support program

After evaluating all the innovative and creative applications, the jury, consisting of internal project partners and external experts, have selected five winning concepts to win PROWAD’s Innovation Challenge, which were announced in April 2022. The prize included a tailored support program to further develop the winners’ initiatives, since the ideas were highly diverse and focused on different fields. By offering business coaching, branding training and introducing them to PROWAD Link’s extensive network of business partners, destination management organizations, natural park authorities, knowledge institutions and more, PROWAD aims to facilitate the best possible kick-off for the new projects.

Meet the winners!

Did you know that two of the winners are Campus Fryslân alumni from the Sustainable Entrepreneurship program? Read more about the winning concepts through the brief pitches below:

Ting Xu
Ting Xu

The ‘Tourist Adventure Challenge’ - by Ting Xu

How can we encourage tourists to learn more about environmental protection and create a better connection between visitors and locals? The ‘Tourist Adventure Challenge’ might be part of the solution! Ting Xu, master student from Western Coast University of Applied Sciences in Heide, Germany, developed the idea to organize a map where tourists can take on adventure challenges during their trip. By achieving these challenges, tourists will get to explore local shops, products and areas. Much more to report about this exciting initiative when the support program will kick off!

Brian van Es
Brian van Es

Eco-accounting for small entrepreneurs - by Brian van Es

How to run an economically ánd environmentally healthy company? Many small entrepreneurs have the wish to become more sustainable, but the problem is often the lack of time and knowledge. Brian van Es, master student at Campus Fryslân, wants to start his own business as eco-accountant that supports local and small entrepreneurs in the jungle of ecolabels, funding, subsidies, networks and opportunities and encourages sustainable business practices. With his experience in accounting and his knowledge in sustainable entrepreneurship, he wishes to become a one-stop-shop for small and local Frysian companies!

Martina Bradáčová & Naf Ahmed
Martina Bradáčová & Naf Ahmed

Turning tourist feedback into data visualization - by Martina Bradáčová & Naf Ahmed

Currently there is a lack of interaction with all types of visitors after their experiences in the Wadden Sea area. This limits the opportunity to deliver the full potential of the tourism products contributing towards sustainable development of the region. Therefore, Martina Bradáčová and Naf Ahmed have developed an online platform which transforms tourist experiences into data visualization through interactivity. The product will generate feedback data with visitors communicating their experiences through gamification methods. Martine and Naf have been part of the elite programme Erasmus Mundus 'European Master of Tourism Management', where they studied sustainable tourism development at three universities in Denmark, Slovenia and Spain during the past 1.5 years. They form the perfect team with a mix of project management skills and digital arts!

Sylke Barkmann & Jörg Trittner
Sylke Barkmann & Jörg Trittner

Photography course with mind and gut instinct - by Sylke Barkmann & Jörg Trittner

When you think of the Wadden Sea, most people will think of dunes, beaches and the perfect sundown. However, the region has so much more to offer in land- and seascapes! Sylke Barkmann, Wadden Sea national park guide and passionate photographer, and Jörg Trittner, professional photo designer, want to increase awareness among local residents and visitors for the often-overlooked coastal wetlands, such as salt marshes and moorland. By participating in their photography course, they hope to get people more connected with the diverse nature in the region. A mission that PROWAD Link supports!

Denise Speck
Denise Speck

Digital storytelling for sustainable development - by Denise Speck

Storytelling has always been essential to humankind; But technological advancements stimulated a novel form of storytelling – digital storytelling – combining traditional oral techniques with multimedia tools which shed light on prevalent issues, foster awareness, and stimulate action. During Denise Speck’s research at Campus Fryslân, she revealed a theoretical gap in literature exploring the potential of digital storytelling within sustainable entrepreneurship and a lack of guidance on how such practices could be oriented towards creating sustainable development. Now she wants to use this possibility to further develop the concept’s potential to generate social, environmental, economic or heritage impacts for particularly small and medium sized companies in the North Sea region.

Next steps

The first months of the support program are a wrap and already at this stage, many of the winners got connected to relevant stakeholders and project partners to explore potential collaborations, brainstorm, receive feedback and exchange knowledge. For instance, Denise, Ting and Brian will participate in the Trilateral Wadden Sea Youth Conference which revolves around youth engagement in the preservation of the Wadden Sea region, where they will undoubtedly get inspired and even better connected with like minded people.

Another important aspect was to create a community among the winners themselves, as they all come with a unique set of skills, knowledge and experience, they each could benefit from each other’s input and ideas. For instance, Sylke has exceptional knowledge of the local nature and landscapes as natural park guide, Jörg is a certified photographer, Denise is an expert in digital storytelling, Naf is a digital art wizard, Brian has years of experience in accounting, while Ting and Martine have an extensive background in tourism studies and development! PROWAD Link is proud of this diverse and talented team and is looking forward to continuing working with them.

Last modified:04 August 2022 10.21 a.m.