‘Innovation coming from diversity opens your mind to a wider set of solutions, which you can combine to solve your own local problems,’ says Françoise Lavertu, representing México City in the international jury of the Clean Energy Challenge.

Appreciating the value of cross-pollination, Lavertu says: ‘WDCD is the only platform I know that brings together such a diverse set of experts – from architects to entrepreneurs – to think of original solutions. They come up with solutions to complex problems, through the mix of their wide knowledge and understanding of best practices.’

Having worked at Tesla as the country director for México and general manager for Latin America, Southeast US & Florida, she understands what it takes to come up with original solutions; and believes alongside diversity that an entrepreneurial mindset is key. Having lead high performing teams there for three years, she recently chose to take her entrepreneurship to the next level and start her own company. Now Lavertu is the founder of Utelias, ‘a thinktank offering strategic support to businesses, where curiosity is at the core.’

‘Ambitious and passionate nominees’

Regarding the quality of the nominees of the Clean Energy Challenge, she was impressed, ‘they are ambitious and passionate, regardless of whether they win or not they’ll make it happen because they’re committed. There is true commitment and true belief in the mission and that’s the only way to make this happen. It’s got to be in your blood. You’ll be resilient, you’ll fight through it. All you need is true belief about what you’re doing. And I see that. That’s super exciting.’

Additionally, Lavertu explains that from an investor standpoint, these projects are great business models.

‘There is true commitment and true belief in the mission and that’s the only way to make this happen. It’s got to be in your blood.’

Further elaborating on the winners for Mexico City, she comments, ‘it’s important that they have a technology and innovation element, as this is relatively new to the city and has the potential to move it forward’. Whereas relating to diversity, she mentions she’s pleased to see that the two winners for the accelerator are women in the STEM sector (Science Technology Engineering Mathematics). To round things off, Lavertu points out that the winning ideas are very promising, because they are tangible concepts with proven feasibility, ready to change the world.

Top image by Gerrit Serné