[Editorial] Taking India’s Innovation Culture to the Remotest Corners with our CSR Programmes
We are celebrating Samsung Electronics’ 54th foundation anniversary. It is a celebration of our heritage of innovation, culture and technology. For more than five decades, we have been enabling people to transform their lives because true progress happens only when everyone is empowered.
This year also marks the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations between India and South Korea. We have been a committed partner to the India growth story since the winter of 1995, when we opened a small office in New Delhi. Today, Samsung has two manufacturing facilities, five R&D centres and one design centre. We are committed to creating jobs, building a culture of innovation through advanced technologies, and giving back to society by becoming a fabric of India.
It has been such a wonderful journey in this beautiful country. There is so much diversity around not only in terms of language, culture and food but also in terms of climate, and ecology. Besides this diversity, it’s the demography that serves to inspire. India has more than 50% of its population below the age of 25 and more than 65% below the age of 35. And, it is the youth, and their indomitable spirit of innovation, that will drive the country’s growth.
What is really inspiring is that the youth is constantly trying to find solutions to challenges they see around them. Since these solutions come from their own life experiences, it touches many lives and is therefore more impactful.
I witnessed it first hand when we recently concluded the second year of our Flagship CSR programme, Solve for Tomorrow. The Top 10 teams, representing 25 young innovators, did not come from only the large metropolises but also from some of the remotest towns in India. They came from towns and cities as diverse as Maharajganj in Uttar Pradesh, Lakhimpur and Golaghat in Assam, Darjeeling in West Bengal, Surat and Ahmedabad in Gujarat, Ernakulam in Kerala – besides of course Chennai and Delhi.
Earlier this year, Samsung Innovation Campus students from the University of Lucknow graduated in AI, IoT, Big Data, Coding & Programming courses in the presence of Shri Yogi Adityanath, Honourable Chief Minister, Uttar Pradesh. It was such a proud moment for me to see these students, some from even far off villages in the state, to be ready for the challenges of the future. Samsung Innovation Campus seeks to bridge the gap between college and career.
We believe the youth from the smallest corners in India have unlimited potential. They have the power to ideate and innovate to solve the biggest challenges in the world.
At Samsung, our Global CSR vision is ‘Together for Tomorrow! Enabling People’. With this vision, we want to enable the youth to bring local solutions for global problems. Our Citizenship programmes are inspired by our corporate vision of ‘Powering Digital India’, where we are focusing on the youth of India and empowering them with Smart Education and Upskilling.
Solve for Tomorrow
Solve for Tomorrow is a nationwide education and innovation competition for the Gen Z. We launched it in India in 2021 with the aim of turning the youth’s ideas into action. We were on the lookout for ambitious 16-22 year olds who could solve global issues with game-changing tech solutions. Our winners came from the big cities in India with the most innovative solutions to their problems. In the second year, the competition got overwhelming submissions from youth across cities, towns and villages, symbolic of the innovation and entrepreneurial spirit of Bharat.
Significantly, ideas in Solve for Tomorrow align with the UN Sustainable Development Goals. They focus on diversity and inclusion, environment and sustainability, education and learning & health and wellness. And, we are seeing a strong community of solvers emerge.
At a time when the world is constantly stressing over global challenges, especially those around climate change, the solution-driven attitude that the GenZ showcased, made the dream of a sustainable future seem much closer than ever.
Samsung Innovation Campus
We also have a programme engaging with the youth of India to prepare them for a digital future. We call it the Samsung Innovation Campus. With this CSR initiative, we aim to upskill youth aged 18-25 years in future technologies and enhance their employability. These are key technology skills for the youth to excel in their fields.
Launched in India in 2022, Samsung Innovation Campus imparts Artificial Intelligence, Internet of Things, Big Data and Coding & Programing courses to the youth. Along with job-ready courses, it also offers hands-on industrial training, expert mentoring and soft skills training to students.
The programme is currently being run in eight cities in India, training 3,000 students on Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), to become thorough professionals in their respective fields.
It was really gratifying to see an all-girls batch of Samsung Innovation Campus at Visakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh. This tied in with our focus on creating opportunities for women in STEM. This initiative at Visakhapatnam sought to provide these young girls not just exposure and mentorship but also a supportive community. These elements are essential in inspiring and empowering more girls to pursue and excel in STEM.
STEM is the language of the future and we want to support each one of them with the best skill-sets, especially young women, and I am excited to see their journey. I have been told about the experiences of various young women who have benefited from Samsung Innovation Campus.
For instance, Medapati Vijaya, a student of our Samsung Innovation Campus in Visakhapatnam, has been using her AI learnings in her civil engineering projects on rolling bridges. Similarly, her classmate Preethi is implementing AI in real time projects so that when they step out of college, they are ready with an entrepreneurial mindset. These young women are carving a niche for themselves in the field of STEM with the help of Samsung Innovation Campus.
Creating equal opportunities for all
At Samsung, we take the idea of equal opportunities very seriously. We recognize that not each youth of the country will have access or the resources to turn their ideas into innovations. This is where the idea of equal opportunities for all germinates. We want to bridge that gap, channelize their energy and aspirations and continue to create the leaders of tomorrow.
We are inspired to give wings to every dream in this country and enable ‘smart education’, imbibing a tech-led approach, for future generations. Our overarching mission is to focus on STEM education by giving the youth an opportunity through various platforms of their choice. We then take their learnings to the next level by providing end to end support. For instance, we also provide a cash prize for the top three winners of Solve for Tomorrow to take their ideas to fruition.
I strongly believe that our youth-centric citizenship programmes, Solve for Tomorrow and Samsung Innovation Campus, which involve students and academia from across the country, will help build and proliferate a stronger innovation ecosystem in the country. It will also prepare our youth to meet the challenges of a digital future and realize their full potential.
For the last 54 years, we are doing our bit every day to develop a culture of breaking boundaries in ideation, innovation and problem solving. Given the critical challenges of our era, ranging from technological obsolescence to the risks arising out of climate change, innovative thinking would be a critical moat. I see the youth playing a central role in addressing some of these issues and drive change with critical thinking by harnessing the power of digital technologies. Given the talent I have witnessed in the youth at both our CSR programmes, I am confident that we have a very bright future ahead of us.
President & CEO, Samsung Southwest Asia