Harvard College Named 5 Best Young Entrepreneurs 2014


Winners have been announced for the program “Village to Raise a Child” created by the Harvard Social Innovation Collaborative (SIC) that identifies and nurtures five young entrepreneurs from around the world. For year 2014, winners included two Brazilians, Georgia Sampaio and Raissa Muller, as well as Kavindya Thennakoon from Sri Lanka, Rastraraj Bhandari from Nepal and the PhilApp Team from the Philippines.

Georgia Sampaio is a social entrepreneur who has volunteered in her local community in Bahia, northeastern Brazil since fifth grade and collaborated with the local government on an entertainment project for underprivileged children.

Raissa Muller, a student from southern Brazil has been working with industrial waste management inside and outside research labs. In her project, she developed a material that works like a selective sponge to facilitate a simple and effective technique to contain oil spills.

Kavindya Thennakoon from Sri Lanka created a sustainable community-driven development solution that has been piloted in 5 villages and currently provides educational services to over 200 children. She works as an adviser on Gender Equality to the UN Youth Advisory Panel.

Rastraraj Bhandari from Nepal developed Education Beyond Borders, a youth initiative to provide a better education to the students studying in public schools by making educational and informative videos.

The PhilApp Team from the Philippines developed a paperless, online, all-encompassing framework that aims to unify and concretize the college application process.

All the winners had a chance to fly to Harvard on a sponsorship to attend the fifth annual Igniting Innovation Summit and present their projects.


The name of the program signifies three important aspects: 1) a community-wide effort, using social innovation to improve communities, 2) youth involvement, believing that youth should be involved in improving their communities and 3) youth empowerment, believing in the capacity of today’s youth to use innovative techniques and solutions to improve communities.

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