The Youth Citizen Entrepreneurship Competition is an activity within the framework of the UNESCO Global Action Programme (GAP) on Education for Sustainable Development (ESD)

Tunnel Lab Pilot Project

Published on July 8, 2014 um 14:58

Name of Enterprise

Tunnel Lab


Muniz Barreto 682/202
22251090 Rio de Janeiro

Your title/position

Executive Director

Type of Enterprise

nonprofit organization

Enterprise has a positive impact on

environment, education , health, sustainable energy, food security, poverty reduction , cultural diversity, empowerment of women, youth

Year the enterprise was founded



Summary of your enterprise

Tunnel Lab is a non profit on a mission to disrupt education in developing countries as we know it. We are starting our activities in Brazil, in the slums of Rio. We believe the solution for poverty is about focusing on providing the skills and the necessary environment so people can solve their own problems. More than effectively transforming the lives of low income Brazilian students, our short term educational program directly impacts the global economy we are living today. We select underserved students from the poorest areas in Rio and for one year they receive a dynamic, hands-on-learning training to be become successful entrepreneurs. Its a very simple equation: BA + Innovation + Computer Science After 9 months, students enter an accelerator program where they will develop their own tech-based business solutions for the community's biggest social challenges. Our approach is based on the premise that it's not about alleviating poverty, its about generating wealth for communities in need. We work using Design Thinking to adapt IT and Business concept to the student's realities, so they can relate to what they are learning. We also focus on ensuring the curriculum is very practical so that the students can produce real outcomes out of each learning session and be even more motivated to continue with the classes.

Impact of your enterprise on sustainable development

At the end of this cycle, the results are a wave effect, starting micro and generating macro impacts. you start by empowering the people, with their knowledge they transform their communities, this transformation influences the national economy that ends up generating new global trends. Tunnel Lab generates new ideas and businesses, new consumer markets, demand for new or existing industry sectors and development of a skilled workforce. We will be running our pilot from july 28th to Aus 1 st. Students will receive training in business, innovation and tech and then created tech-based social business ideas that will be judged by a panel. We will measure our success by conducting an impact research before and after the program. our main focus is to understand if there is any change on how the students envision their future as well as what they were able to learn from the classes. We are also running a research with the companies who are supporting us to see if they see possibilities of new markets and consumers from the businesses that will be presented during the pilot. For the long term pilot we will launch in january with the help of the government of Rio we aim to conduct a SROI report.

Sustainability and future plans

The lab works a non profit to receive donations since the classes will be free of costs for students. after graduating students take their ideas to the accelerators, who will send a fee for Tunnel out of each investment to the student's idea's they receive. Tunnel also will have a small ownership out of each business who is launched. After we gather a pool of 20 good tech based ideas we will start our own investment fund to ensure our businesses will receive investment to grow. In order to scale our impact and reach out to the communities we are currently working on developing a mobile unit lab. The community will be able to administer the unit. To receive the unit they need to raise a small amount to show their commitment towards the idea, we will give them the unit with all the materials, access to our cloud-based software, and a training to facilitate the on-line classes and presencial classes.

Your profile as an entrepreneur

Julia is a 26 years old social entrepreneur. She had the idea of founding Tunnel Lab when becoming involved with rural Kenya after working as a business consultant for GE healthcare Africa in 2013. As part of her field research she found herself very close with the underserved communities and was able to witness how innovative and persuasive they had to be in order to survive each day. So she started to image how much they could do if they had knowledge in business and IT. That's when tunnel Lab was born. She has been working in the international development sector since 2010 handling operations and acting as a conflict negotiator for an NGO based inside slums in Rio. She cames from an advertising background having worked for marketing, design and event planning offices in Brazil. She has a masters degree in Social entrepreneurship in San Francisco, US and worked in Frankfurt, Germany as a Social Business Consultant for Nobel Peace Laureate Professor Muhammad Yunus at his NGO, Yunus Social Business.



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