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Another initiative focused on introducing more sustainability into the way we operate on the planet, treat its resources and each other, has been launched into action by a philanthropy called BE OPEN and an educational association Cumulus.

The initiative relies on creativity and design-oriented thinking as means of tackling such a huge and acute issue of today as food crisis. In the form of a competition, it aims to bring the talent of students and graduates of creative disciplines worldwide to focus on UN’s SDG2: Zero Hunger.

Why the organizers think that creativity is key, explains Elena Baturina: “It requires unconventional and sustainable solutions for not just a quantitative, but a qualitative progress. Developing these solutions requires design thinking, in-depth research and analysis, creative use of multifunctional components, and the application of ecological and sustainable design principles.”

The competition is open to all students of art, design and media disciplines and calls for innovative solutions that can contribute to how we transform our food systems to end food insecurity and create better conditions for an equitable and environmentally prosperous world, says the project description. The expectation towards those who haven’t yet even started their professional career may seem to some too grand, but the philanthropist remains optimistic.

Apparently, the foundation has a long history of running such contests. In cooperation with educational institutions all over the world, BE OPEN has held competitions for young creatives since 2012, with a particular focus on those “in the transitional face between education and employment”. This line of the foundation’s work aims to scout out emerging designers, artists and architects to showcase their potential, bring their thinking to life and give them support whilst they develop their work.


“Every time we run design student competition, we are deeply impressed, without fail, by the participants’ hard work, commitment and creativity”, Elena says. “Each competition is an incredible journey that brings us to the most stunning results of dozens and dozens carefully researched, beautifully designed projects. There are dozens and dozens of desperately needed ideas that we hope will inspire actual change very soon. Each of the submissions has the best of humanity at heart, strives to make a real difference for us all, and therefore deserves to be applauded and celebrated in every possible way.”

During these 8 years of work, they have seen the participants of these competitions develop their ideas into products, set up studios, find employment, appear on the pages of fashionable magazines, have own exhibitions, etc. “It makes us proud and happy to witness their success and know that we have been a steppingstone in their careers. We are grateful for their support and long-term friendship, as many become part of BE OPEN’s creative community, alongside their professors, curators, industry professionals who are also involved in our projects.”

This year, BE OPEN joined Cumulus to provide another chance for the next generation of committed designers to be recognized on an international stage. They will jointly reward the best work with the monetary prizes from €10,000 to €2,000 as well as international visibility opportunities: “We are doing our best to get as much visibility for the projects and their creators as possible. The winners and the honorary mentions (typically around 50) get featured in an online gallery in the competition website. We also address a number of commercial and non-profit organisations who operate in relevant spheres, to present the works, and discuss possible ways of moving these ideas and their creators forward.”

The chances to receive these benefits, Elena explains, grows with the feasibility of a project: “successful projects have to answer to the needs and aspirations of its intended audience, have a clear plan of what is needed for its realisation, be sustainable and efficient, very well researched in terms of the problem to be solved, the stakeholders and purpose, and most certainly be innovative and out of the box.”

So here you go develop a working solution to battle hunger and move us towards sustainability in our food systems, submit your project to the competition via website, and you may gain support from those people who actually strive to make the world a better place…and can give you some money.”