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SDU spinout wins World Summit Awards- European Young Innovators Award

WeUse, a company started by a group of students at SDU in Sønderborg, ran away with victory at the weekend when the WSA presented the European Young Innovators Award in Graz, Austria.

By Sune Holst, , 5/2/2023

WeUse represented Denmark on the international stage as a WSA Young Innovator 2022. After being selected as one of 15 purpose-driven young innovators from Europe, the SDU spinout finally celebrated the accomplishment. They took down the award as the overall winner of the Young Innovator Festival in Graz. 

WSA (World Summit Awards) is a unique awards system selecting and promotes local digital innovation to improve society. Combining an ongoing series of international events and activities with a global network of startups, social entrepreneurs, mentors, jurors, speakers, experts, government leaders, academia and civil society, WSA is an international platform for cutting-edge examples of how ICTs can impact the community positively. We asked CEO and founder Emil Busch what the price meant to him and the rest of the crew;

At WeUse, we are very proud and honoured to receive this recognition, which shows that we have a product that creates community and impact and has relevance throughout Europe. WeUse does not win any money with this award but has received something much more important: a strong network of people across Europe ready to help spread our service to other countries. Many of these experts usually provide a service as startups that we will never be able to afford, but when we get access to their networks and skills, absolutely free. 

How was it celebrated? 

The entire WSA's (World Summit Award) European Young Innovators Festival was held in Graz, Austria. Here, over three days, we participated in workshops, network meetings and presented our respective projects. WeUse was nominated by Social Entrepreneurs in Denmark (SED) to represent Denmark and was lucky enough to win and thereby participate in the final. Unfortunately, it was only possible for our one founder, Emil Busch, to attend the handover in Austria, so it was celebrated with a call to the rest of the team and with the other participants from all over Europe, as well as delegations from all over the world such as the Philippines, Uganda and Mexico, to name a few. 

This is not your first award. How many awards have you won so far? 

WeUse has received many honours and awards over the past few years. However, this is the first major international award we have accepted that shows our hard work, where we fight every day to make it easier and more convenient to borrow and rent from each other than buying new.

What is unique about your product? 

The unique thing about WeUse is that it is more than a sharing economy platform but a system for the community (companies, residential areas, sports clubs, etc.) to build a community. We make it safe to lend or rent your personal belongings to others you have a relationship with. It is about making it safe and convenient to borrow and rent if we are to create a behaviour change. 92% of Danes want to share, but only 2% do. Therefore, we found that doing it in closed communities, where people have a relationship with each other, the willingness to share is up to 60% higher.

How does it look for WeUse, and what are the prospects? 

WeUse is still a startup, and changing behaviour takes work. However, we are very privileged to have agreements with large organizations such as Ørsted and parts of the University of Copenhagen, who want to be at the forefront of the fight to help individuals consume just responsibly. We are very proud of that and are constantly getting new companies, housing organizations and municipalities who want to help make it easier for their employees or citizens to share. We believe that together we can make it more attractive than buying everything new, as it takes up space, is expensive, and we can share the costs by buying quality rather than quantity. That is why we have also opened up the European market to use our system, as overconsumption is far from a challenge we see in Denmark. This has been very well received, and we see more and more communities coming all over Europe in the last few days.
Editing was completed: 02.05.2023