The Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation (CEI) at the American University in Cairo (AUC) School of Business in collaboration with Afretec Network Universities would like to present a groundbreaking competition entitled ‘ICT for Circularity (ICTfC)’. The competition invites students from Afretec network universities all over Africa to use advanced technology (ICT) to help businesses and public institutions use resources wisely. This means reducing waste, extending product lifetimes, and promoting ethical and sustainable practices for the benefit of both society and the environment.
The competition themes will require the students to work with the latest technologies like Big Data, Blockchain, Artificial Intelligence (AI), and the Internet of Things (IoT) to create practical solutions in their chosen area.
UC Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation
The American University in Cairo’s School of Business kickstarted the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Program (EIP) in 2010, a pioneering initiative in the MENA region. EIP played a vital role in spotlighting entrepreneurship’s impact on economic development, contributing significantly to Egypt’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. By fostering ideation and innovation, EIP supported startups across various stages, linking them with accelerators, incubators, and investors. In 2015, aligning with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, EIP evolved into the Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation (CEI). This transformation expanded its focus to include critical themes such as gender, climate, and sustainability. Over time, entrepreneurship and innovation became central concepts for achieving key objectives like financial sustainability, employment, and gender equality. CEI’s evolution demonstrates that fostering entrepreneurship and innovation as a mindset can contribute to community development. Today, CEI stands as a respected brand in the ecosystem, serving as a go-to reference for stakeholders engaging with youth, women, startups, MSMEs, and underserved communities.
African Engineering and Technology Network (Afretec)
The African Engineering and Technology Network (Afretec) is a pan-African collaboration of technology-focused universities from across the African continent. The creation of Afretec is a defining moment for the digital transformation of Africa. The network will build a strong knowledge creation and educational infrastructure on the continent. It will also provide a platform for its members to engage in deep collaboration that drives inclusive digital growth in Africa. The purpose of Afretec is to create a platform for technology-focused universities in Africa to drive inclusive digital growth by collaborating on teaching and learning, knowledge creation, and entrepreneurship activities within the area of engineering and technology.
Key Focus Tracks:
The Environment Track
- Regenerative agriculture and sustainable food production
- Access to reliable, green, and affordable energy sources
- Ensuring clean water and proper sanitation
- Utilizing water energy
- Food nexus applications and technologies
- Enhancing supply chain management with added value
- Implementing sustainable waste management practices
- Considering population and resource dynamics
- Evaluating the impact of developmental projects on communities
- Exploring other social impact avenues
- Designing eco-friendly products through eco-design
- Exploring shared economy models
- Exploring other economic innovations
This track includes any other ideas that are related to the main competition theme, but does not fit perfectly in any of the first 3 tracks.
Objective & Rationale
The goal is to positively impact the planetary boundaries (PBs), considering factors like climate change, biodiversity, and more. The nine planetary boundaries are:
- Climate Change: Measures carbon dioxide concentration impacting global temperatures.
- Biodiversity Loss: Focuses on species extinction, vital for ecosystem health.
- Biogeochemical Flows: Tracks nitrogen and phosphorus cycles, critical for ecosystems.
- Ocean Acidification: 5-Absorption of excess carbon dioxide makes oceans more acidic, affecting marine life.
- Land-System Change: Concerns land conversion for human use, impacting habitats and biodiversity.
- Freshwater Use: Addresses consumption impacting rivers, lakes, and aquifers, affecting ecosystems and communities.
- Atmospheric Aerosol Loading: Involves microscopic particles affecting climate and organisms.
- Stratospheric Ozone Depletion: Protects the ozone layer, crucial for filtering harmful UV radiation.
- Novel Entities: Involves chemicals, new materials, and organisms with potential irreversible effects on Earth’s systems, including pollutants like plastics and genetically modified organisms.
Therefore, the students are encouraged to create prototypes and proof of concept for products, services, and systems that address critical issues in pollution, ecosystem degradation, social injustice, and climate change impacts.