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Students RISE to U21’s newest challenge

Students from 16 Universitas 21 universities have competed for the RISE Awards for Impact, Innovation, and Potential, with successful teams being offered a bespoke package of international exposure and a global network of expert supporters with a minimum value of US$2000 per team.

Roots Africa connects students and academic institutions in America with farming communities in Uganda. Photo: U21

A panel of judges from the world of social entrepreneurship and innovation chose the best teams

RISE – Real Impact on Society and Environment – is U21’s newest student opportunity, which showcases student-led projects based on an aspect of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

“My congratulations to all who took part and we look forward to supporting them to reach their goals”

A panel of judges from the world of social entrepreneurship and innovation chose the best teams from a selection of inspirational video pitches.

Provost of U21 Bairbre Redmond said this first group of U21 RISE projects were truly inspiring and demonstrate both the ingenuity and the depth of concern that students in U21 universities have in making the world a better place.

“I loved watching these videos and seeing what is happening in social enterprise and innovation around the world,” she added.

“My congratulations to all who took part and we look forward to supporting them to reach their goals.”

The ‘Most Innovative’ award went to joint winners, Roots Africa and Guided Hands.

Photo: Guided Hands

Roots Africa connects students and academic institutions in America with farming communities in Uganda, while Guided Hands is a medical technology innovation that enables people with reduced fine motor skills to complete everyday tasks.

“Thank you so much for this incredible recognition for Roots Africa,” said Cedric Nwafor from the Roots team. “Over the next year, we will be expanding to other academic institutions in Africa and the US.”

The ‘Most Potential’ award went to Solar4Schools, which brings solar power to schools in Kenya. It also makes solar power affordable for schools in rural Kenyan communities by developing power systems that not only provide clean off-grid energy but also generate revenue through mobile phone charging stations.

Finally, the ‘Most Impact’ winner was Foodprint – a social supermarket in Nottingham, the UK’s poorest city, selling otherwise-wasted food at low prices to those experiencing food poverty.

“We are excited to scale our environmental and social impact even further in 2020,” said Chris Hyland, director of Foodprint.

“We are dramatically increasing the amount of food we save from landfill and are soon to launch Foodprint on Wheels. We are sure RISE’s support will be invaluable in helping make it a success.”

You can see all of the entries here.

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