Butterfly Innovation Award 2023 Winners

13 Dec 2023 News
Butterfly Innovation Award winners 2023

We have the winners of the second regional Butterfly Innovation Award 2023. 

Bulgaria's capital Sofia hosted the 2nd edition of the Butterfly Innovation Award on 12 December. The Regional Cooperation Council (RCC) organised the ceremony which was co-hosted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Bulgaria. 

Alongside the winning teams, the ceremony featured representatives of the diplomatic corps, businesses, start-ups and funding institutions.

Butterfly Innovation Award 2023 Winners 

The winning solutions are

Industry Innovation

Team AgAR, from Serbia, for an autonomous agricultural robotic unmanned ground vehicle poised to redefine the landscape of farming. 

AgAR was created by Coming Computer Engineering, from the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Nis. Designed for indoor and outdoor tasks, AgAR's versatile platform accommodates various robotic payloads and traditional implements, cutting investment costs significantly. 

Its robust design conquers rough terrains and steep slopes with ease, offering unmatched stability and payload capacity. Featuring advanced battery technology for unparalleled autonomy, AgAR extends its utility beyond precision agriculture, promising transformative applications across industries. 

Women Innovation

Team Kungul, from Albania for a mobile app providing crucial information on potential carcinogens, allergens, and harmful chemicals in cosmetics and offering healthy alternatives. 

In a market where 60% of skin-applied products are absorbed by the body and 80% of beauty product ingredients lack safety testing, Kungul emerges as an innovative mobile app. Designed to empower consumers in the cosmetics sphere, Kungul provides crucial information on potential carcinogens, allergens, and harmful chemicals. 

Yet, it goes beyond mere awareness by offering healthy alternatives. Its methodology not only enhances user experience but also incentivizes the production and distribution of safer cosmetic options. By rigorously adhering to EU regulations, Kungul ensures products meet stringent safety standards, instilling confidence in consumers and potentially elevating the reputation of regional cosmetic producers.

Green Innovation

Team PowerWheel, from North Macedonia, represents a groundbreaking advancement in wheel-based technology by harnessing rolling motion to power electronic devices. 

This innovation initially focused on suitcases but goes beyond this industry and is applicable in market shopping carts, hospital beds, and baby strollers. Its adaptability allows for multiple functions—from providing motion assistance to serving as a brake system. 

It aligns with sustainability development goals by curbing pollution and reducing carbon footprint. Its scalability is evident in its adaptability to existing products and potential to create new markets, showcasing a versatile solution applicable across diverse industries and promising substantial growth opportunities.

STEM Innovation

Montenegrin Team Flourish, for a digital coach, focused on affordable emotional intelligence development. 

Emotional intelligence ranks among the top three competencies crucial for success. Studies have shown that traditional emotional intelligence training yields a 12% boost in productivity and retention, delivering a remarkable 250% return on investment within eight months for companies. However, current solutions are costly and inefficient. 

Flourish enhances emotional intelligence effectively, as validated by recent university research, requiring only two sessions per week, each under 10 minutes. Recognised by the UNDP X catalogue for its significant impact on Sustainable Development Goals 8, 4, and 3, Flourish has already empowered over 4000 individuals globally to elevate their emotional intelligence levels.

University Innovation

Robotic Hand from Kosovo* featuring interface integration with the human body, crucial for functional prosthetics. 

The project showcases a cost-effective, high-value robotic hand capable of basic movements, developed as a multi-axis system with a focus on balancing modularity and coordination. While primarily a research endeavour, the project led to prototype training and algorithm development for intelligent systems. 

This innovation developed at the Department of Mechatronics at the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering of the University of Prishtina has far-reaching potential, promising efficiency gains in regional manufacturing through automation. 

Youth Innovation

Team QManager, from Bosnia and Herzegovina, for a queue management system.

Nobody enjoys waiting in queues. QManager is a versatile system designed for efficient queue management across various administrative offices, including banks, city administration centres, and service hubs. It empowers customers to remotely monitor queues, manage time slots based on employee availability, and handle obligations both online and in-person. 

Beyond enhancing user experience, the system ensures better service control and employee management, elevating service quality across institutions. Evolving into a comprehensive e-administration solution, it will soon enable citizens to access and track administrative cases via mobile applications. This expansion also promises transparent case updates and tailored notifications, catering to specific categories like students, veterans, and pensioners. 

This year's overview 

A group of independent evaluators from the EU MS considered 87 entries across all categories. 

The Industry category attracted one-third of all applicants, closely followed by the Green and Women categories. 

Submitted innovative solutions showcased diversity in ideas, spanning from FoodTech to circular economy concepts, from molecular modelling to EdTech innovations. 

Markedly, nearly half of all submissions focused on digital solutions, signalling a promising shift towards a digital transition in the Western Balkans.

The RCC's Secretary General Majlinda Bregu and her Bulgarian colleagues Maryia Gabriel, the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Bulgaria and the Minister of Innovation and Growth of Bulgarian Milena Stoycheva, handed out the awards.