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Beyond the Transaction: Every Transaction Has a Story

Intensive Creativity: Bright Minds at the MasterCard Innovation Challenge in Portugal

After my experience as a volunteer in the Economics for Success programme, developed by MasterCard in partnership with Junior Achievement Portugal earlier this year, I couldn’t be more enthusiastic about the future generations and the future of my country.

Twelve hours of intensive brainstorming and collaboration among 100 enthusiastic teenagers, at the MasterCard Creativity and Innovation Challenge (MIC), proved I was wrong.

I could be more enthusiastic. I could find more hope.

As part of the volunteer team of the MIC, the second part of our partnership with Junior Achievement, I realised that even when we think we have given everything, there is always something more we can give. This was true for the volunteers who actively participated in this initiative to promote financial literacy, and for the students who put their hearts and souls into winning the challenge. To my great joy, I also found out that, despite the difficult economic times, there is a lot of energy, creativity and entrepreneurial spirit among the Portuguese youth.

Aimed at 100 students from several high schools in Portugal and held in the inspiring setting of Museu do Oriente in Lisbon, the MasterCard Creativity and Innovation Challenge is a business contest focusing on Innovation and Financial Inclusion targeted to Youth. It works as an intensive idea generation workshop, where students, divided into small groups and helped by volunteers, are faced with a business challenge that they have to solve in 12 hours.

The challenge was in many ways perfect for them. It was about developing an educational platform tool to help teenagers learn the value of money and help them manage their spending and saving. This platform had to use technologies and channels that are relevant for the youth (from mobile to Facebook), had an evaluating element to teach additional lessons and, above all, had to be fun and engaging.

…Just about as as “fun and engaging” as this unique, priceless experience was to me!

What about you, would you like to participate in a volunteer program?