ARLINGTON, Va. — Nov. 16, 2011— Ashoka, the world’s community of leading social entrepreneurs, and Staples, Inc. (NASDAQ: SPLS), announced today Eden Full, founder of Roseicollis Technologies, a social enterprise designed to implement unique technologies in developing and emerging markets, as the grand-prize winner of the 2011 Staples/Ashoka Youth Social Entrepreneur (YSE) Competition.
The global competition highlights youth-led organizations using innovation and technology to address social issues affecting their communities, and is part of Ashoka’s Youth Venture®, an initiative that identifies and fosters young entrepreneurs all over the world who are creating positive change.
The four winners of the YSE Competition went head-to-head and pitched their ventures to an audience of technology innovators on Tuesday, November 14 during Techonomy 2011, a prestigious conference for technology leaders held in Tucson, Arizona. Eden was then selected by audience vote as the grand-prize winner and awarded an “Around the World Learning Tour.”
The tour will provide her with an opportunity to travel the globe and meet other youth social entrepreneurs, Ashoka Fellows and Staples associates to further develop her venture’s impact.
Recognizing how technology plays an integral role in driving innovation among today’s youth, this was the first time the YSE Competition honored exceptional young people using technology to make a positive impact in their community and the world.
Roseicollis Technologies’ primary technology is the SunSaluter, a cost-effective solar panel rotator that increases the efficiency of solar panels to bring alternative energy and electricity to developing countries. In August 2010, Roseiocollis Technologies provided electricity, for the first time, to two villages in Kenya to help improve the lives of more than 1,000 residents. The villages can now safely collect firewood, charge cell phones and power radios to remain updated on current events. Eden and Roseicollis Technologies aim to install the SunSaluter in additional countries, including Tanzania, Uganda and Western China.
“Eden Fuller and all of the Staples/Ashoka Youth Social Entrepreneur Competition winners serve as examples of innovative entrepreneurs through their ventures and are helping to inspire youth to create their own positive change,” said Amy Shanler, director of community relations for Staples, Inc. “We are so proud to recognize these young technology leaders for their commitment and determination to make a lasting impact in communities around the world.”
“The efforts of this year’s winners have resulted in concrete, positive improvements in local communities – a core component of the Staples/Ashoka Youth Social Entrepreneur Competition,” said Gretchen Zucker, executive director of Youth Venture. “We truly admire these entrepreneurs for their ingenuity in solving important social issues around the globe.”
This year, the competition received hundreds of entries from 50 countries addressing a diverse range of issues, from the environment to healthcare and education.
Since 2006, Staples Foundation and Ashoka have supported young entrepreneurs throughout the world as they work to create positive change. Through more than $3 million in funding, Staples has enabled Ashoka’s Youth Venture to expand to eight countries in North America, South America and Europe and has helped 50,000 youth volunteers launch and operate 2,000 ventures that have had impact on nearly 200,000 people.
For additional information on the 2011 Staples/Ashoka YSE Competition winners, please visit the competition web site at: www.ashokayouthcompetition.org.
About Youth Venture
Ashoka’s Youth Venture aims to help an entire generation of young people develop as changemakers, who will improve their communities now and throughout their lives. Youth Venture inspires and supports teams of young people to launch and lead their own civic-minded organizations and businesses. Youth Venture was created by Ashoka, the global pioneer of the social entrepreneurship sector and the world’s biggest network of changemakers. We believe that the greatest contribution we can make to the world is to increase dramatically the number of changemakers today and in every future generation. This is the key factor for success for every part of society, from a school to a company to an entire country. Ashoka’s Youth Venture operates in 18 countries and online at www.youthventure.org.
Ashoka is the world’s community of leading social entrepreneurs—individuals with innovative and practical ideas for addressing social needs. Working with these social entrepreneurs, Ashoka builds communities of innovators who work collectively to transform society and design new ways for the social sector to become more productive, entrepreneurial and globally integrated. For more information, please visit www.ashoka.org.
About Staples in the Community
Staples contributes to educational and youth-oriented community efforts, from literacy and mentoring to career skills development, through in-kind and monetary donations and grants from Staples Foundation, the private charitable arm of Staples, Inc. Through its community relations efforts, Staples and Staples Foundation have helped more than 6,000 organizations in 2,000 communities across 27 countries. Community relations is also an integral component of Staples Soul, which recognizes the connection between long-term business success and the impact Staples has on associates, communities and the planet. For more information, visit www.staples.com/community.