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At the IDB, we believe that together we can go farther. Our partnership network is making positive differences in Latin America and the Caribbean every day, and this blog is our channel for telling that story. Stay tuned for literature on partnership perspectives, stories from the field, changing trends, outlooks for development and the region, information on ways and opportunities to partner, and more. Thanks for stopping by.

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Is Mexico Reaching the Final Frontier?

By - Jul 24 2014

Star Trek I

“Beam me up Scotty!”  One of the most iconic lines in the history of television,  this pop culture staple was once Captain Kirk’s request to be teleported back to the Starship Enterprise. Sounds pretty cool, though a bit unrealistic, right?  Wrong. Though teleporting remains a thing of the future, ten Mexican innovators under 35 are proving that other inventions we once thought fantasy can become reality in the 21st century.

In the development world, a lot has been said about innovation. We usually hear about once unthinkable technologies, rapid-fire transportation, and dazzling new devices emerging in the rich, developed nations of Asia, Europe or North America. But these Mexican visionaries are here to prove that innovation is also alive and well in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC).

With that in mind, the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) has sparked a movement called “Demand Solutions” to inspire new approaches to development challenges, and generate ongoing dialogue about innovation, creativity and risk taking. To keep this dialogue going and highlight innovators in the region, the IDB and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have joined forces to introduce these ten young Mexicans in the MIT Technology Review’s Spanish edition.

Set for dissemination at this year’s EmTech México, the publication will highlight youth identified as the most creative and impactful technological innovators in the country. They are pioneers, entrepreneurs, and inventors who work through technology to generate solutions with a strong social and economic impact. All are part of a global community of young leaders who are changing the world and bringing us the future today.

Additionally, these two institutions, in conjunction with local partners such as the National Autonomous University of Mexico (NAUM), the Ministry of Economic Development, and the National Institute of the Entrepreneur, went beyond merely communicating the stories of these young entrepreneurs and recognized their efforts through the Under 35 Innovation Awards.

Winners included 34-year old Rubén Morones, named ”Innovator of the Year” thanks to his development of a therapeutic cocktail that uses silver to multiply the effect of antibiotics. This solution could significantly improve the effectiveness of antibiotic treatments, reducing the cost of getting a leg up against increasingly resistant bacteria.

Scott Munguía, age 25, has long worried about sustainability. As a result, he looked to Mexico’s booming avocado production to develop bio-plastics from the 4,700 tons of avocado seeds discarded per month. Mexico’s avocado seed waste alone, Munguia holds, is sufficient to meet up to ten times the country’s plastics demand.

Riding the mobile app wave, 28-year old Juan Leonardo Martínez created an app that enhances the accuracy and efficiency of colorimetric analysis, allowing for improved diagnosis of diseases including malaria, anemia and renal failure, and tracks  the metabolic status of chronically ill patients.

Other winners included Alejandro Cantú (28) for a seismic alert system; Blanca Lorena Villareal (27) for a robotic nose; Caleb Rascón (32) for a powerful robotic ear; Daniel Jacobo (31) for a system that converts vegetable waste into bioactive compounds for pharmaceutical use; Guillermo Ulises Ruiz Esparza (25) for nanovectors that improve the transport of molecules therapeutic for heart failure, and Josue Gio (28) for an application to help people who tend to procrastinate.

Aimed at showcasing these promising young innovators and the ideas with a high probability of taking off in the near future, the Under 35 Innovation Awards supports the next generation of young Mexicans with technological projects sure to disrupt the status quo.

Thanks to the MIT-IDB partnership, these awards will spread  throughout LAC, seeking out the new generation of regional innovators that will boldly go where no one has gone before.

Are you one of those innovators, or know someone who is? Join the conversation! @BID_idear #DemandSolutions

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