AUDA-NEPAD SANBio Student Ambassador hosts Hult Prize Challenge

Vanessa Dzekedzeke

The year 2020 ended on a high note for our Malawi Student Ambassador, Vanessa Dzekedzeke as she managed to successfully host her first Hult Prize challenge in her capacity as University of Malawi Campus Director.

In partnership with the United Nations, the challenge was hosted at the University of Malawi in December last year in search of the next game-changing start-up.

With the goal of educating and engaging students at its core, the challenge has created a platform to support the launch of social enterprises that are tackling global challenges. The Hult Prize is home to the world’s largest college and university network for impact. The OnCampus Program operates on over two-thousand college campuses on five continents and is made up of students, university administrators, professors and alumni who participate in the program as mentors, speakers and sponsors for events, workshops and startup competitions which are organized under the Hult Prize Banner.

Every year former USA President Bill Clinton announces a social challenge the students are to focus on. The 2020 challenge in the Food for Good category was aimed at transforming food into a vehicle of change able to impact 10,000,000 by the year 2030, by creation of jobs, stimulation of economies, reimagining supply chains and improving outcomes.

Background

The Hult Prize – OnCampus Program at The University of Malawi-The Polytechnic issued a call for applications on 14th November 2020. A total of 42 teams applied and 11 where shortlisted to pitch their idea on the 12th of December 2020 virtually on Zoom. On 20th November 2020 an information session with the regional manager  Cliffton Nyakundi was held, followed by a social entrepreneurship training session hosted by Mzuzu E-hub on the 27th of November and pitch training session hosted by mHub on 4th of December 2020 before the final event that was hosted by mHub and was live streamed on their Facebook page on 12th December 2020.

Overall, three teams (FoodPlat –winners ; Smart Farms - 1st runner-up and; Food Engineers - 2nd runner-up) were selected to represent the University of Malawi – The Polytechnic at the regionals to be held between March and April this year.
The winner of the local On Campus Program, FoodPlat - for their idea of using of a mobile application to promote and maintain a balanced diet, will automatically advance to compete in one of Hult Prize Regional Summits happening around the world.

One winning team from each host city will then move onto a summer accelerator, where participants will receive mentorship, advisory and strategic planning as they create prototypes and set-up to launch their new social business.  A final round of competition will be hosted in September at the United Nations Headquarters, where the winning team to be awarded the $1,000,000 prize.

SANBio provided the winning teams with a congratulatory package consisting of a T-shirt, Wristband Flash Disk, Notepad and a carry bag.

Written by Vanessa Dzekedzeke