Who will be the Digital Heroes of the Year?

The race for the 'NextGen Hero' Award is on. The finalists are two digital heroines and two digital heroes aged between 20 and 28 who are helping to shape the future of Switzerland in an outstanding way.

Text: Claudia Lienert, published on 05. October 2023

candidates digital economy awards

SwissICT is holding the Digital Economy Awards for the fourth time. The awards ceremony will take place on 16 November 2023, once again at the Hallenstadion Zurich. 29 personalities, organisations and products are vying for an award in six different categories. Among them is the 'NextGen Hero' prize for young talent, which will be awarded for the first time in cooperation with Switch. An audience vote will decide which digital heroes aged between 20 and 28 have the special potential to help shape Switzerland's digital future in the most outstanding way.

Jessica Farda, University of St.Gallen

Jury statement

Jessica has created an impressive innovation with her start-up Noriware: a compostable alternative to single-use plastic packaging. This is an important contribution to making packaging more sustainable. The dedicated entrepreneur and multitasker not only invented Noriware while experimenting at home but also proved that where there is a goal, there is a way. She successfully combines her start-up with her university studies. With such passion and an innovation that has the potential to change the industry, the jury believes she is well-equipped to make a lasting impression.

Lucas Renfer, Bern University of Applied Sciences

Jury statement

Lucas convinced the jury with his passion for robotics and his approach to making the technology accessible to Swiss SMEs. The Auto-Mate Robotics team has developed a robotic cell that can be reprogrammed within a few hours. This enables solutions for flexible production that can adapt to rapid changes in the market, especially for small-batch production. The user interface has been programmed to be easy to use and learn, allowing a company's internal staff to take the driver's seat of automation.

Maria Näf, University of Applied Sciences OST

Jury statement

With her idea SEG 'Sexual Education Go!' she and her co-founder want to revolutionize sexual education and its teaching at Swiss secondary schools. Young people should be able to find out about sex education topics tailored to their age and life situation. By providing meaningful content and resources, her future app will offer a unique perspective on all topics of sex education, and practical boxes will make the topic accessible in the classroom. Maria is a very positive person who has the potential to tackle many future projects to make this world a better place.

Tim Meier, University of Lucerne

Jury statement

Rapes, murders, child pornography and other acts of violence are increasingly taking place in the virtual world but can have consequences in the real world. How should criminal law deal with the depiction of violence in the metaverse? Tim, a doctoral student in law, identifies research needs in numerous domains and plans to bring interdisciplinary teams to the table. A topic that is definitely of interest for the digital future of Switzerland.

Claudia Lienert

Claudia Lienert

Head of Community Management


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