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Teams from Ethiopia, Nigeria, Botswana & Ghana Advance to the Finals in the Africa Business Concept Challenge

In its second year, the GBSN Africa Business Concept Challenge began with 293 students in 78 teams from 46 schools in 17 countries across Africa. The virtual student competition, sponsored by AACSB International and Thunderbird Africa Center for Excellence and supported by PeaqsAssociation of African Business SchoolsStanford Seed and em lyon business school, aims to address local problems with innovative business solutions. The competition challenges teams of undergraduate and graduate students to design a viable business concept that addresses a locally-relevant challenge or problem related to Agenda 2063, and inclusive and sustainable development.

In Round 1, student teams navigated a four-phased project development process on the Peaqs platform, where ideas, products and/or services were put up for sale on a virtual stock market. With Peaqs’ unique stock market simulation and other student engagement and peer feedback features, the platform facilitates peer to peer feedback and modification, which enriches the learning and development experience. Teams were required to address the following areas in the completed project.

  1. The Challenge: Frame the local challenge or problem and the need for the solution.
  2. The Solution: Link the community need / problem to the solution and explain how it will be addressed through the business solution.
  3. Give Examples: What does this project look like in practical terms?
  4. Impact: What will be the impact qualitatively and quantitatively?
  5. Marketplace: What is the market for the product/service?
  6. Sustainability: How sustainable and scalable is it?

Following the conclusion of a highly competitive Round 1, GBSN is pleased to announce the Top 6 Teams who will advance to the Finals Round and deliver a LIVE 10 minute pitch presentation to the international panel of Judges. Following the presentation, Judges will have the opportunity to pose questions and provide comments to the team. Students will be tested on their ability to answer questions on the spot.

The teams and universities are as follows (in no particular order):

PROJECT BIO-ANSWER INITIATIVE

Zimbabwe loses 330 000 hectares of forests annually, approximately the size of Cape Verde. At this rate, the remaining 15 million hectares will last for less than fifty years (Forestry Comission, 2021). Cooking consumes 11 million tons of firewood annually. The cooking firewood demand is caused by low national electricity coverage at 29%, and electricity inaccessibility due to blackouts and price hikes. The doubling effect on electricity tariffs of cooking using electricity makes it difficult for low-income earners to afford the bills. Mbare, the most affected suburb with 40 000 households, has lost more than 80% of its forest cover. The residents are concerned with electricity tariff hikes, 18-hour blackouts, and firewood shortages. 40% of the households are prone to cooking 1 in 3 meals using plastics. The Biostove will enable cooking energy autonomy and sustainability (SDG 3, 7, and 13), producing five-plus cooking hours of biogas on 3kg of household waste.

Bio-Answer-Initiative is a team driven by innovation and giving back to its communities. Africa has severe problems, and as a young generation, we always seek to create solutions. We see this as a prize-giving opportunity in which we apply and put into action the different sets of entrepreneurial and critical thinking skills that we attained from our learning experiences. We are two students with strong Engineering, Business, and Information Technology backgrounds that value ethics, preservation, and curiosity. The new drive to encourage alternative energy sources across Africa is an opportunity we can’t afford to lose. Renewable energy has accounted for more than 20 % of global power generated in the past years. However, one in five people still lack access to electricity. As the demand continues to rise within the population, there needs to be a substantial increase in the production of affordable energy sources across the world. Bio-Answer Initiative seeks to eliminate this energy problem.

Team Bio-Answer Initiative

Ashesi University, Ghana

Team Members:
Leeroy Takudzwa Magora
Judercio Jose Nhauch

Faculty Mentor:
Mr. Nicholas Tali

Team Adroit

Lagos Business School, Nigeria

  • Team Members:
    Chinwe Nlemoha
  • Abiola Akinwole
  • James Adeyemo
  • Akinyemi Sowunmi

Faculty Mentor:
Mr. Ayodeji Balogun

PROJECT ADROIT

Nigeria has the second highest burden of stunted children in the world, with a national prevalence rate of 32% of children under five and nearly 5.1million people being nutrient deficient (UNICEF, 2020; Borgen project, 2020) This takes the form of being underweight, overweight or micro-nutrient deficient. We have identified farm communities as key players in starting the revolution in the quality of food supply in Nigeria – that the food value chain is enriched from the roots till it gets to the final consumer to tackle the nutritional deficiency.

We are offering Nigerian farmers processed Spirulina which is one of the most ancient forms of life on earth that enriches crops, serves as protein supplements for livestock and fish and is considered as one of the richest nutrients in the world for humans. Our goal is to make healthy living a lifestyle for all by addressing SDG Goals #1, 2, 3, 6, 8, 12 & 14.

PROJECT RAY COSMETICS

RAY Cosmetics aims to establish a self-sustaining environment in Ethiopia. Water is a one of Ethiopia’s major natural resource. It is also a main source of fish in the country’s most beautiful cities like Bahirdar, Hawassa, Arbaminch, etc. However, Fish has negatively affected the environment, becoming a source of waste and pollution. Fish skin, scales and bones have been causing pollution to the environment besides disrupting the nature of these beautiful cities.

RAY Cosmetics reuses wasted fish skin and scales as a raw material and combines it with other additives to locally produce skin and hair care products. The protein extracted from the fish waste provides protein supplements, moisturizing, anti-aging and detoxifying characteristics to our products. This model supports the local cosmetics industry in the country, which has historically been relying on imported goods that leads to higher costs, making it unaffordable to the common consumer.

Team RAY Cosmetics

Bahir Dar University, Ethiopia

  • Team Members:
    Rewla Ephrem
  • Yared Assefa
  • Abrehame Dessie

Team Sigyn

Lagos Business School, Nigeria

  • Team Members:
    Ijeweme Odiawa
  • John-Paul Okorofaor
  • Rasheeda Raji
  • Unwanna Etuk
  • Matthew Nyiakura
  • Faculty Mentor:
  • Dr. Ade Alakija

PROJECT SATURN

Project Saturn is a platform that aims to improve health systems across Africa, by unifying patient medical records from all hospitals onto a single network platform. The goal is to provide a simple and affordable electronic medical records (EMR) platform for all hospitals to use. No need for specialty computers, IT Engineers or lengthy training. Just “login and Use.”

With Project Saturn, Team Sigyn intends to:

  • Reduce the high cost of running an EMR system for individual hospitals.
  • Improve inadequacies in healthcare systems caused by lack of or incomplete patient medical records.
  • Serve as a central medical network for all hospitals, allowing an efficient exchange of communication, information, and resources.

PROJECT TALA PLASTICS

Plastic is being used for a lot of purposes and it has become integral part our lives. Statistically speaking, today the world produces 300 million tons of plastics waste annually with more than 8 million tons ending up in the ocean yearly. At the current pace plastic pollution will rise to 29 million metric tons by 2040 of which has no proper way of being disposed without negatively affecting the environment. The plastic mostly used is made up of oil-based polymers, which is difficult to recycle or degrade. It poses as a health hazard to human beings because plastic waste breeds different microorganisms which can cause different diseases.

Targeting the sustainable development goal 12, which talks about ensuring sustainable consumption and production patterns by 2030, we decided to make a project on the production biodegradable plastic from starch derived from plant crop remains and indigenous plants which degrades faster in the environment to help reduce the plastic waste in Botswana.

Team Tala Plastics

Botswana International University of Science and Technology, Botswana

  • Team Members:
    Mbako Kutlo Motshwari
  • Khumo Mora
  • Letso Gabanthate

Faculty Mentor:
Dr. Enoch Ogunmuyiwa

Team Pomace

Addis Ababa Science and Technology University, Ethiopia

  • Team Members:
    Nardos Alemu
  • Mahlet Alemayehu
  • Semira Jemal
  • Lidiya Tadesse
  • Lamrot Damene
PROJECT POMACE PULP

Almost a third of Ethiopian population, staggering 30 million people, is currently enrolled in different levels of education across the country. With education entirely dependent on paper products, the local industry suffers as Ethiopia has not been able to maintain supply with its local production.

Ethiopia imported over 17,000 tons of exercise books worth ETB 494 million in 2016/17 fiscal year. On the other hand, 34% of deforestation is done to satisfy our huge appetite for paper goods. This amounts to the destruction of around 4.1 million hectares of forests each year. In addition, more pulp produced from wood entails a more expensive process, machinery cost and chemical consumption. Pomace Pulp proposes a simple solution: utilizing waste agricultural residues as the primary source to manufacture pulp. It is a relatively less complicated process with fair chemical consumption. This project aims to distribute pulp for paper, textile, tissue, sanitary pads and diaper industries in Ethiopia as well as across Africa.

Congratulations to all the student teams who made it all the way through Round 1 and completed all four phases on the Peaqs platform.  The top 6 teams were selected based overall performance on the Peaqs platform. This includes level of completion and quality of information submitted within each phase, total shares, total share value (final standing), and the recorded pitch presentation. Final project files will be exported, packaged, and shared with each team after the competition as well as published on the GBSN website.

Prizes for Learning & Development

The team that earns 1st Place will receive a prize of $5,000 USD, sponsored by AACSB International.

The Thunderbird School of Global Management at Arizona State University is offering a scholarship to its Global Entrepreneurship & Innovation Bootcamp to every student on a team that advances to the Finals Round. Each scholarship is valued at $1,000 USD with a guaranteed certificate. Designed for professionals who want to launch or advance global enterprises, Thunderbird’s Global Entrepreneurship & Innovation Virtual Bootcamp equips you to realize your entrepreneurial dreams or elevate your career as an innovator within a global organization. With a  unique focus on global dynamics in an era of disruption and rapid change, the curriculum features sixteen leading-edge themes key to global entrepreneurial success in the 4th Industrial Revolution. This 8-week online course provides 3-4 hours of content per week. Participants have up to one year from the purchase date to complete this course. It is advised that you complete it within 8 weeks to provide an optimal learning experience. To receive a Certificate in Global Entrepreneurship & Innovation Virtual Bootcamp, all 16 modules must be completed.

What topics will be covered:

  • Strategic Planning: Visioning, And Goal Setting
  • Social Entrepreneurship
  • Strategic Planning: Implementation
  • Understanding Your Customer For Marketing And Sales
  • Public And Private Partnerships For Business
  • Accountability, Transparency, And Ethics In Business
  • Funding And Access To Capital
  • Using Social Media Effectively For Business
  • Operations: Value Chains
  • Organizational Readiness For Scaling And Growth
  • Intellectual Property In Business
  • Creating A Business Culture For Growth
  • Effective Branding For Business Growth
  • Financial Analysis And Management
  • Recruiting Quality Talent For Business Growth
  • Developing Staff For Business Growth

MORE ABOUT THE BOOTCAMP

What’s Next?

The Top 6 Teams will be delivering their LIVE pitch presentations on April 28-29. On behalf of the entire GBSN team, we are proud of all the student teams who competed in Round 1. Final project files will be exported, packaged, and shared with each team after the competition.

We invite our global community to join us at the Virtual Awards Ceremony on May 4th, where we will bring this year’s Africa Business Concept Challenge to a close. The top 3 teams and first place team will be announced. Join the entire ABCC community as we celebrate the innovative projects and solutions that were developed by students during this year’s competition. REGISTER for the Virtual Awards Ceremony HERE.

More information on the Africa Business Concept Challenge can be found at www.gbsn.org/africachallenge.


Nicole Zefran, Director of Membership & Development

GBSN

Nicole manages communications, online web presence and administration for GBSN’s events, projects and programs. As the Director of Membership & Development, Nicole is responsible for developing and facilitating programs, projects and initiatives to engage GBSN’s network of stakeholders. From attracting fresh talent to developing next-generation leaders — business and education both have a role to play as we move from conventional schooling to lifelong learning. Development, growth and impact are achieved through collaboration (across sectors and disciplines), so at GBSN Nicole works to foster cross-border networking and knowledge sharing across a network of stakeholders who share a commitment to a common mission. She enjoys working with people from different backgrounds and is motivated by the belief that multi-stakeholder collaboration is essential to a globally connected world.

Shifting demographics, along with the rise of technology and automation, are changing the way we work — and the way we learn. Currently, through the pandemic, she has been focusing on her own learning and development. Taking short courses, earning certifications, reading more and learning new skills related to home improvement projects and crafting. Nicole is a proud Filipino-American based in Washington D.C. In her spare time, she binge watches true crime documentaries, attempts various DIY projects and continuously works on improving her culinary skills.

Nicole has a Bachelor’s in Communication Studies from Ohio University with a focus on both public relations and organizational communication. She recently earned a Masters in Public Relations and Corporate Communications from Georgetown University. Nicole’s next objective is to earn a business degree. She is currently in the search and research phase of finding a business and entrepreneurship program that fits her interests and is relevant in the our current changing world.