Tokyo, December 10, 2018 – Rakuten, Inc. held the presentation of the final results of the inaugural Rakuten IT School NEXT, a program launched this year*1 that aims to work with high school students and members of local communities to solve local issues, on December 8, 2018. The program is part of Rakuten’s sustainability initiatives and CSR activities, and is designed to contribute to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The day’s event saw representative teams from the 10 high schools participating in the program come together and present their proposals for addressing local issues facing their communities. The following awards were presented:
•IT School NEXT Grand Prize
Awarded to the project the jury most wanted to support
Shizuoka Prefectural Fugakukan High School: Creating the “Fujinomiya” Brand
Awarded to the project that addresses an issue in the most novel and interesting way
Iwate Prefectural Mizusawa Commercial High School: Creating a better environment for raising children
Awarded to the project with the most positive impact on the community
Fukushima Prefectural Futaba Future School: Revitalizing Futaba District
Awarded to the project that best utilizes Rakuten’s services and technologies
Aichi Prefectural Nanyo Senior High School: Fair Trade Town Nagoya
Selected via vote by the participating students
Wakayama Prefectural Wakayama Commercial High School: The Nankai Trough Earthquake
Each team presented a proposal to address an issue facing their community which they have discussed and worked on since the summer. The five judges of the jury, comprised of members from Rakuten and external organizations, comprehensively evaluated the content of each presentation by the high school students to select the winners of the IT School NEXT Grand Prize, Innovation Prize, Impact Prize and Technology Prize. In addition to the jury-selected awards, the students voted to decide the winner of the Student Prize, making a total of five awards. The day’s program included opportunities for the students to learn more about SDGs and addressing local issues through a lecture by the Director of the United Nations Information Centre in Tokyo, Kaoru Nemoto and a networking event for students of the participating high schools.
Rakuten IT School NEXT is a program in which high school students collaborate with local residents to discuss issues faced by their local communities, and receive guidance from Rakuten employees in developing solutions to these issues making use of Rakuten's services and technologies. The program is the successor to the Rakuten IT School*2, a program started in 2008 that provided practical lessons in internet business to high school students and ran for 10 years. The program was redeveloped to propose solutions to a variety of issues facing communities around Japan. The students who participated in Rakuten IT School NEXT 2018 began developing their ideas for solutions to issues in their communities in August of this year, and presented their solutions to their school in November. Each school selected a representative team on the basis of these presentations, and it was these teams which participated in the final results presentation.
In addition to Rakuten IT School NEXT, Rakuten is undertaking a range of sustainability initiatives, including “EARTH MALL with Rakuten”, a website that promotes sustainable consumption*3, Rakuten Social Accelerator, a collaboration program that brings together social entrepreneurs and Rakuten employees*4 and the Rakuten Clutch Special Charity Fund, which enables donations using Rakuten Super Points and other payment methods*5.
Rakuten is committed to contributing to the realization of sustainable local communities and society*6 and to the achieving of the SDGs*7.
*1 Related press release: https://global.rakuten.com/corp/news/press/2018/0803_01.html
*2 As part of Rakuten’s sustainability and CSR activities, Rakuten IT School provided practical lessons in internet business to high school students in collaboration with merchants on Rakuten Ichiba and hotels and other facilities on Rakuten Travel. The initiative continued for 10 years from 2008, with a total of 6,955 students from 245 schools graduating from the program.
*3 Related press release (Japanese): http://corp.rakuten.co.jp/news/press/2018/1129_03.html
*4 Related press release: https://global.rakuten.com/corp/news/press/2018/0315_03.html
*5 Related page: https://global.rakuten.com/corp/donation/
*6 Rakuten includes “Making Local Communities Sustainable” as one of the four pillars of its sustainability activities. Related webpage: https://global.rakuten.com/corp/sustainability/commitment/sdgs/
*7 Rakuten IT School NEXT is part of the measures to promote Goal 4: Quality Education, Goal 10: Reducing Inequalities, Goal 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities and Goal 17: Partnerships for the Goals.