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Flight to Denver

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Jon Stone

Media Relations Manager

Jon Stone

DU hosts global innovators addressing sustainable development goals

News  •
Sustainable Development Goals picture

n 2015, the United Nations set 17 goals — known as the sustainable development goals (SDG) — for ending poverty, protecting the planet and ensuring prosperity for everyone. The challenge now is to implement them within 15 years.

With that in mind, the University of Denver’s Project X-ITE is hosting Flight to Denver, a weekend bootcamp, scheduled March 31 to April 2, for the technologists, engineers, scientists and other innovators gearing up to address the goals. Many of these experts attended the first Solutions Summit, held at the UN headquarters the day after the UN adopted the SDG.

“Colorado has exceptional innovation resources that will provide myriad benefits to the entrepreneurs pursuing solutions to the world’s most persistent and complex challenges,” says JB Holston, dean of the Daniel Felix Ritchie School of Engineering and Computer Science.

Project X-ITE, a cross-disciplinary initiative focused on entrepreneurship, innovation and technology, is the driver and curator of this mentoring bootcamp. The Project is partnering with the United Nations Foundation and Colorado’s Office of Economic Development and International Trade to make this groundbreaking and collaborative event possible.

Flight to Denver will serve as a mentoring program for 17 innovators from the Solutions Summit. They represent 11 countries — Australia, China, Ghana, India, Kenya, Malaysia, Nigeria, Pakistan, Rwanda, United Kingdom and United States. Teams addressing the different goals will be partnered with faculty from Colorado research institutions, undergraduate and graduate students, and experts from the nonprofit, public and private sectors.

“Flight to Denver is a perfect way to showcase both Denver’s and Colorado’s uniquely collaborative innovation ecosystem,” says Erik Mitisek, executive director of Project X-ITE and Colorado's chief innovation officer. “We’re able to leverage the best and brightest leaders from the private, public, and nonprofit sectors, and pair them up with world class faculty and students from across the front range for an unparalleled experience to help these global entrepreneurs succeed.”

Also participating in Flight to Denver is Megan Smith, chief technology officer of the USA appointed by the Obama administration. At the conclusion of the mentoring bootcamp, the teams will continue to work with the innovators leading up to the next Solutions Summit at the United Nations in September.