YOUTH UNEMPLOYMENT: HULT PRIZE FINAL DRAWS

YOUTH UNEMPLOYMENT: HULT PRIZE Final draws close as Sixty-three teams get set to pitch their solution to United Nations Challenge at the Trenchard Hall on November 24; celebrating University of Ibadan 70years of excellence and impact

The menace created by unemployment cannot just be measured by the absence of value gotten from one’s possession of wealth alone but it is evident in the diminishing self-esteem which has brought about frustration and the feeling of inadequacy. Societal challenges faced by the unemployed, especially among youths has created a sense of exclusion within them. They are faced with a host of barriers and hurdles which continues to bar them from tapping into the few available limited opportunities and has in turn sprouted up a lot of devil’s workshops across continents.

The fast-growing global movement – Hult Prize, believes youths around the world have the capacity to create change with little or no reliance on ‘conventional solutions that don’t work’ which includes more degrees from formal education, subsidized public sector jobs, chasing the ‘American Dream’, building more accelerators and incubators but transitioning to much more feasible and sustainable means which has high preference for and gives priority to learning (Creating pathways to meaningful work through improved skills), matching (Connecting buyers and sellers on multi-sided platforms), sourcing (Building a business on hidden talent and productive capabilities) and creating for an inside-out revolution built on the foundations and pillars of business for maximum social impact in terms of gainful employment.

As a top tier university, University of Ibadan was selected to host a local edition of Hult Prize in September 2016 (www.hultprizeat.com/ibadan). The maiden edition of UI Hult Prize took over 100 students of the university through the rudiments of social entrepreneurship which led to the development of several innovative business start-ups by the students from which facts count was selected as the most innovative among several ideas, and emerged on campus winners. Facts count, (www.factscount.org) an online polling/survey, data-gathering and analysis system helps to transform opinion into fact through regular research fact-finding and opinion polls on several policies, events, businesses, products, elections, etc.

Team Facts-count competed for a million US Dollar at the Hult Prize Regional Finals in Boston Massachusetts, United States, in March, 2017 as one of the two innovative student’s social business start-ups from Africa. In the same year, one of the runner-up team at the on campus event, named Helpmum, whose idea was designed around providing affordable health care delivery for pregnant women with the goal of reducing maternal mortality won the Innovate4life HACKATHON Prize in Nairobi Kenya in March. The prize was valued as USD 3,000. Helpmum was also enlisted for the Google Impact Nigeria challenge potential winners. Several other business startups have emerged from the Hult Prize UI initiative, which now runs under the Students’ Entrepreneurship and Innovation.

The second edition of the Hult Prize UI held between September to December 2017, and like the first, it trained over 150 students’ to develop innovative start-ups for scalable social impact. More than 20 innovative energy startup ideas were presented during the final pitch and team Greendrive was selected as the most innovative. Greendrive is an innovative social business model aimed at harnessing the wind energy through a portable wind turbine deployed on moving objects like cars, trucks, train. This idea has been presented at the Hult Prize National Competition in Abuja and has been declared as having the potential of disrupting the clean energy sector in Nigeria.

This year, University of Ibadan has yet been selected to organize Hult Prize due to the strength the institution has shown for social entrepreneurship over the years. The Students’ Entrepreneurship and Innovation hub, a newly registered social entrepreneurship student association, birthed out of necessity for students to solve societal issues through business surfaced in the university, and the Hult Prize now run as an official competition on campus. Students are excited about the year challenge which President Bill Clinton (42nd President of United State) declared on September 15 during the United Nations Global week as – YOUTH UNEMPLOYMENT; students are challenged to develop startups that would provide 10,000 meaningful jobs in the next decade.

The organizing committee on November 1st to 3rd held a three day boot-camp at the Veterinary Medicine lecture theatre for students of the University. Expert trainers came all the way to facilitate sessions on “Business Plan writing” and “pitching to investors.” These measures were taken to give student companies from the University an edge in the competition.

According to the Campus Director, Mr. Ojo Oladimeji, the Hult Prize 2019 oncampus final pitch competition which holds on 24th November 2018 by 10:00am, at the Trenchard Hall of University of Ibadan is yet another opportunity to celebrate the University’s 70 years of excellence and impact.

In view of this, it becomes less surprising that Hult Prize’s 2019 challenge is targeted towards promoting solutions and ventures that has the capacity to provide meaningful jobs for 10,000 youths in the next decade. Sixty-three teams will pitch their solution to a panel of fourteen judges at the Trenchard Hall of University of Ibadan.

Ojo Oladimeji concluded with the statement, “the Hult Prize at University of Ibadan will now run under the newly registered Students’ Entrepreneurship and Innovation Hub, and it is our utmost desire that the hub produces more successful startups and teams who will become major employer of labour within and outside Africa.”

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