STUDENTS at the Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) are gearing up to make it to the finals of the Hult Prize -- one of the top 5 ideas changing the world, featured in Times Magazine and dubbed as the Nobel Prize for students.
With over 100,000 undergraduates and postgraduates from 1000+ universities involved, the Hult Prize in partnership with the United Nations is the world’s largest startup event for the launch of for-good and for-profit business ideas emerging from universities around the world through pitching of business ideas channelled towards the world’s most pressing challenges.
The event is in phases and it starts with each campus hosting their respective on-campus events. Obafemi Awolowo University among many other universities is set host its on-campus event on December 15.
The winners of the intra-campus event will automatically advance to compete in any of 26 regional finals happening around the world. The goal is to reach the accelerator in New York where there is funding and mentorship throughout.
Winning teams from each 26 regional finals are pulled into the accelerator. Thereafter, 6 teams will finally be selected to pitch at the United Nations where the overall winning team gets $1 million in seed capital. Every other finalists get pilot funding.
The challenge for the competition announced by Ex-President Bill Clinton is “Youth Unemployment -- Develop an idea to provide meaningful jobs for 10,000 young people within the next decade”.
The competition is opened to BSc, MSc and PhD students. Students from OAU are expected to form teams of 3 - 4 students each and to come up with their business ideas to pitch to judges on the event day.
Johnson Ishola, the Campus Director who will be leading the Hult Prize at Obafemi Awolowo University said that he is “confident Obafemi Awolowo University can produce the next generation of business leaders who will drive the country’s economy.”
He encouraged individuals to be part of the on-campus event as the aim of the Hult Prize isn’t only to get the best business ideas from students but also to instil an entrepreneurial/startup culture across students, inspiring them to believe that by setting up businesses, they can solve some of Nigeria’s and world’s most pressing challenges.
He also stressed that the University can represent Nigeria at the Global and National stage, coming out victorious.
“The future of our economy depends on a new wave of entrepreneurs coming up with ideas, resolving to make them a reality and having a mission to create wealth and jobs. The theme for the competition is arguably the most pressing challenge we have in Nigeria and if we can solve this, a lot more other problems will be solved too,” Johnson told.
Speaking on achievements made in the previous year, Johnson said, “In 2017/2018, our on-campus winning team -- Team Utility -- developed a system that traps off solar radiation to purify and generate electricity simultaneously. They got an automatic entry into the Dubai regionals with the University also contributing hugely. The runner-up teams also represented OAU at the other Regionals.”
This academic year 2018/19, the Hult Prize at OAU event is looking for the top teams that would automatically advance to compete in 3 of the 26 regional finals happening around the world.
With over 10 rock star judges on the panel, 9 milestone breaking trainers on the pre-event workshops/sessions, volunteers and strategic partners, we will be leading a new wave of student entrepreneurs to change the world on December 15. Students are to register on the website www.hultprizeat.com/obafemi to participate in the competition.