On Friday, November 24, various student groups went head-to-head to flaunt their entrepreneurial ideas for the Hult Prize Competition on the AUN campus.
The competition had two phases: the elimination stage, which took place earlier in the day at the AUN Library, and the final stage, which took place at 4:30 pm at the 24-Hour Room of the Library.
The Hult Prize is a competition where undergraduates come up with creative ideas and develop business plans to realize them. It is a platform that encourages students to put their minds and energy to work to solve some of the world’s pressing challenges to better the lives of millions of people. In this year's competition, the participants had been charged to tackle the challenge of "Harnessing the power of energy to transform the lives of 10 million people."
AUN Campus Director of the Hult Prize, Muhammad Rabiu Bala Rabe, a first-year student from the Natural and Environmental Science department, gave an overview of the competition while anchoring the event.
“Hult Prize is a global competition that enables university students to make a difference in their respective communities. It is a unique competition in the sense that it gives students an opportunity to solve complex social problems faced by humanity.”
During the first stage of the competition, five teams made spectacular presentations, but only two teams were expected to make it to the finals in the evening. The five teams that competed were DRUJ, Golden Starts, Delta, Lightwalkers, and Endustria.
At the end of the elimination round, Lightwalkers and Endustria delivered terrific presentations and qualified for the finals.
The project by Lightwalkers harnesses the power of energy to change the lives of over 10 million people, and it is fair to say they made quite a remarkable presentation. Team Lightwalkers aims to brighten every dark home across the poorest regions of the world by 2025. Their project will develop a motor that can harness the natural energy in the atmosphere and generate power.
Team Lightwalkers spokesperson, Miss Marian Fonkam, a Computer Sciencemajor, stated their goal as ensuring that slum dwellers can have easy access to power. She expressed satisfaction with the commitment of her team members towards making a mark in the competition.
On the other hand, Team Endustria is a group of young innovative minds with the idea to utilize various waste materials to produce biogas, a cheap and environmentally friendly source of energy.
“We are transforming biomass (organic waste) into biogas and fertilizer. Our target market is basically the poor people in the rural areas. I am glad and hope we can advance to the finals with this tremendous effort," said Zulqarnain Mahmood, Team Endustria's representative and Natural and Environmental Science major.
Before the winner was announced by the Dean of Students Affairs, Byron Bullock, certificates were issued to the judges who presided over the competition. Dean Bullock expressed gratitude to the judges and satisfaction with the students' performances.
The judges at the competition included Shehu Atiku Abubakar, a businessman and entrepreneur; Yakubu Sini, a social entrepreneur in Adamawa State; Ms. Nari Welye, Co-Founder of Sweke Global Foundation, and Abdullahi Bello, Director of Residence Life.
Mr. Abubakar expressed delight over the tremendous efforts by the students to showcase their innovative drive.
“We have seen some quite fantastic and innovative ideas from the students here. Though without a background in engineering and the sciences, the students were able to come up with sound ideas that involve a lot of technical know-how and scientific knowledge. This is impressive. Some of them also provided fair financial analysis and other marketing aspects despite not being business students.”
Lightwalkers emerged the winner. They will subsequently represent AUN at the regional quarter-finals in Lagos in March 2018. If they win the Lagos competition, they will proceed to the semi-finals, and hopefully the finals at the United Nations Headquarters, New York City, in September 2018.
Reported by Bashir Ibrahim Bashir