Winners of the North Atlantic Corona Challenge announced

Four teams have been awarded prizes in the North Atlantic Corona Challenge that brought together 64 participants virtually last weekend (29-31 May).

The 48-hour challenge was aimed at 18-30-year olds from the North Atlantic region (Greenland, Iceland, the Faroe Islands, coastal Norway and Scotland).

Their task was to come up with ideas and develop solutions to save communities, save businesses and save lives in the region during and beyond the COVID-19 crisis.

NORA has been working with the Scottish Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) to extend the initiative to the region. The event had a take-up from all five countries and 17 teams were created.


Each team was allocated a mentor to coach and guide ideas-development throughout the weekend. A jury made up of one person from each country evaluated the projects based on their originality, benefits for the region and feasibility. Ideas needed to be able to be implemented within five months.

The winning idea was developed by a team of two people from Scotland, husband and wife Samuel Warnock and Rachel Bews. The remote shopping app, called ‘Shop With Me’, provides a solution for small rural retail businesses to continue operating during the pandemic.

Bews said:

I have loved participating in the North Atlantic Corona Challenge. It has been such a rewarding experience for us to really focus on a current problem in such a short space of time and develop innovative solutions. Our mentor has been fantastic and the whole organisation has been faultless. We would love to participate in any future ‘hackathons’, and we are so thrilled to have won. We are really excited to explore applying our project in reality.

The runner-up prize was won by a transnational team from Scotland and Iceland. Their idea was an app called ‘ParentEd’, which is a new and original solution to support parents with online education for their children.

Øystein Andresen, a NORA advisor, said:

The North Atlantic Corona Challenge was a great way for NORA to bring out the best in our youth. The sparsely populated areas in the north Atlantic are not exempt from the crisis, even though the number of infected has been relatively low. We wanted to inspire the young generation to work together to combat the pandemic, and we were blown away by their amazing ideas.

Kateryna McKinnon, European manager at HIE, said:

We were really pleased that such a high number of creative young people took part in this online event. All the teams delivered very exciting innovations, which address our region’s specific preconditions. This was a fantastic opportunity to generate great ideas and prototype solutions which could be developed into commercial products, but also help ‘save lives’. It was great to work with NORA on this initiative and connect our young people from Scotland with like-minded young people in other parts of the North Atlantic, to bounce ideas and exchange experiences. I hope the success of this event would mean more collaborative initiatives between NORA and Scotland to follow.