Addis Ababa Science and Technology University students advancing to the regional finals of the prestigious one-million-dollar startup award of the 2022 edition of the Hult Prize.
Hult Prize, annually held global competition which is organized for the second time in Ethiopia crowdsources ideas from university-level students after challenging them to solve a pressing social issue around topics such as food security, water access, energy, and education.
Team Agelgil, A team of 4th-year students at the University stood at the first place from their pitch on an app that facilitates on-campus food delivery services while creating job opportunities for students with financial limitations, according to a press release from the organizers, 251 Communications & Marketing PLC.
The app presented by the finalist team, Agelgil, at the national level was awarded first place by a panel of 4 judges that oversaw 12 teams of finalists that presented their ideas. Up and running for the past eight months, the app won over the judges for its practicality and the employment opportunity it provided for the students, especially those from low-income families. These students are able to earn an income by linking restaurants around campus areas with the students and faculty looking to order different dishes.
Abel Sintayehu, the Agelgil team representative speaking on the reason behind their idea said, “We usually have trouble going out and dining in campus cafeterias because there are only a few of them and they are usually packed, which takes away from our study time. Hence, we came up with the idea of creating an app for food delivery to our dorm rooms. While doing that, we also planned on helping students with low or no income. They will be working on delivery during their free time and be able to earn cash. Our aim is to make this app adapted in every university in Ethiopia.”
Securing second place in the competition, Team Mighty, proposed a business idea that aims to empower women in refugee camps and in incarceration by adding value to the traditional pottery business. The third place was secured by Team TICVO, who proposed a plastic recycling business through incentive offering.
This year’s Hult Prize on-campus competition is being held with the theme “Getting the World Back to Work”, with the goal of creating jobs, stimulating economies, reimagining supply chains, and improving outcomes for 2000 people by 2024 while meeting the sustainable development goals and creating a positive impact on the environment and/or society.
The Hult Prize competition is a startup accelerator for social entrepreneurship created by former U.S. President Bill Clinton, which brings together university students from around the globe to solve some of the world’s most critical issues.
“Hult prize is not the end, It is a ladder to your entrepreneurial journey, Of course a million dollars will be good but the guidance we all got from the judges, the mentors, and the trainers in this proves a billion-dollar worth of experience and benefit.” said Kirubel Engidawork, the Hult Prize Director of Addis Ababa University, while congratulating the finalists remarked.
"The private sector must be considered as the primary development agent that fosters an enabling environment for Ethiopia's demographic dividend, mostly represented by the youth, to build innovative businesses and create much-needed job opportunities. Kazana Group will continue to play its part in enabling the youth to be innovative and solution-oriented," said Addis Alemayehou, Chairman of Kazana Group, a local holding company with a portfolio of 16+ companies in Ethiopia, which sponsor this year’s edition of the Hult Prize AAU on Campus.
The Hult Prize, which is also called the Nobel Prize for students, brings together some of the brightest and most innovative students from all over the globe through a means to create an environment that can foster innovation of business ideas that are geared towards solving social problems. Every year the program includes training that has helped over a million youth across the world. More than 200 people participated in the training this year at Addis Ababa University.