Filling the Gaps; Tapping Youth Energy to Aggregate Social Equity

About the Author: Ahmad Mustapha is the Campus Director for Hult Prize at Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria. He is among the Top 20 Campus Directors Globally. He organized the maiden edition of the OnCampus competition at his university, a team from his university won the Regional Competition held at Lagos, Nigeria. He is a youth leader that commits to humanity’s prosperity within his domain.

 

The world is currently at crossroads with daring issues forcing the bottom of the population pyramid to live undignified lives, from hunger and a lack of access to nutritious diet to a lack of access to stable clean energy, these challenges are impeding the possibility of a world where poverty does not exist. The youth demographic especially, are in a dilemma, they continuously face the problems caused by previous generations and the possibility of securing a prosperous legacy for generations yet to come cannot be guaranteed. Therefore – now more than ever – it has become imperative for talented university students to be at the helm of paving the way for a world where prosperity is assured.

With this, comes Hult Prize – just at the right moment to spur intellectual curiosity and nurture the business acumen of students. With the annual challenge being daring enough with a prize of 1 Million USD to elicit the interest of students globally while putting them off balance within constraint limits, yet deliver the results. Over the years, the Annual challenge has been instrumental in providing remarkable solutions to the world’s toughest issues, it’s astounding that students thought of providing affordable insects as alternative to nutritional protein requirement from meat, they feed the bottom of the population pyramid with a nutritious diet of insects which provides far greater benefits than the traditional meat. The company, ASPIRE, founded as a brainchild of Hult Prize has become the global leader in micro-livestock production.

The 2018 challenge issued to the students aimed to create a novel solution to the energy problems affecting vulnerable populations with solutions projected to impact over 10 million people by the year 2025, it is safe to say we are eager to witness the next frontier discovery that will transform the Energy sector. Organizing the first social enterprise competition within Ahmadu Bello University was a rewarding experience for me, I saw students reimagine the entire concept, they brought solutions that were outside-the-box, integrating emerging technologies of Artificial Intelligence and data analytics to fully automate the off-grid system was truly remarkable and we have witnessed the sheer amount of ingenuity and talent exhibited in formulating such a unique state of the art solution.

What truly gave me the reason to keep on inspiring and leading the social enterprise ecosystem is how passionate my colleagues were in developing their one-stop shop solutions, in the words of a student, “I never knew of social enterprise in my entire life, what I knew was either it’s the corporations providing the solutions and gaining profit or the NGO’s proving the solutions and within some years they are dead, but the social enterprise model integrates the benefits of both systems and achieves a better outcome”. The Hult Prize is a game changer for young people that truly comes in handy fine-tuning the narrative for a prosperous world.

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