The New York University, Abu Dhabi beat four other student teams with innovative ideas on how to increase access to solar lighting in Africa, emerging overall winner of this year’s Hult Global Case Challenge announced at the end of April.
The NYU Abu Dhabi team developed a trust-based model which sought to address issues of consumer trust in solar lights by ensuring that local service and repair centers are set up where solar lights are sold. The team also sought to address financial barriers that deter people from buying solar lamps with pay-as-you-go-technology.
The Hult Global Case Challenge is the world’s largest crowd sourcing platform for social good which seeks to change the way the youth think about social issues. It is a call to action for the world’s brightest university and college students to tackle the world’s most pressing social challenges.
The competition has a million dollars in prize money which is divided equally between winners of each of the three challenge categories – education, energy and housing.
This means that NYU Abu Dhabi’s winnings go to the Challenge’s energy partner, SolarAid, which is also an Associate of the Lighting Africa program. SolarAid will be using this money to help scale up its social enterprise, SunnyMoney and work to together with the winners to implement the winning idea.
The competition, in its third year, attracted thousands of university and college students from five cities – Boston, Dubai, London, San Francisco and Shanghai – representing over 130 countries and six continents with competing ideas in three sectors.
The judging panelists included the Nobel laureate Mohammad Yunus, while the awards were presented by former US President Bill Clinton at the New York public library on April 26.
SolarAid and its social enterprise, SunnyMoney, are working with the winning team, as well as other finalists, to implement their ideas.