Four students from Kenya’s St Paul’s University on Wednesday won the global finals of the 2022 Hult Prize, which comes with a $1 million cash prize to boost their business.
The team of four students, who were competing in the finals as Eco-Bana Ltd, the students beat five other finalists with their innovation on eco-friendly sanitary towels to emerge top. The Hult Prize challenges young people around the world to solve the planet’s most pressing issues through social entrepreneurship.
Eco-bana Ltd is a start-up that makes biodegradable sanitary pads using banana fibre. The idea aims to stop plastic manufacturing by providing biodegradable sanitary pads to end period poverty.
The team comprises Lennox Omondi, Keylie Muthoni, Dullah Shiltone and Brian Ndung’u. The event was held during the Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting in New York City, US. Former US President Bill Clinton delivered the keynote address.
During their pitch, the young Kenyan changemakers told the jury that they predicted to “sell more than three million pads, generating over $50 million and employ more than 2,000 people by 2024,”
“With $1 million, we’re confident that we will be the best and become number one producers of biodegradable sanitary towels in Kenya and East Africa,” Mr Omondi.
The students cut a mark for themselves in the final after winning the regional summit in May in Johannesburg and emerging in position two in the Global Accelerator in Boston, Massachusetts in August.
“We’re a team with a mind for business and a heart for the world. We’ll continue creating sustainable enterprises that will shape the future of the sanitary towels industry that will drive entrepreneurship growth,” Mr Omondi said.
“The Hult 2022 Prize was such a joyful celebration of innovation and sustainability in business. All our finalists did incredible pitches today, but there could only be one winner. Huge congratulations to Eco-Bana Ltd,” Hult Business School said in a tweet.
The five other finalists are Breer from Hong Kong, Savvy Engineers from Pakistan, Openversum from Switzerland, Cooseii from Taiwan and Flexie from Australia. The six teams are the winners of each of the regional summits.