Student Grain Drying Innovation and Farming Cooperative for African Nations Wins $15,000 Race to Feed the Planet Award
November 16, 2022
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico - An Enactus student team from the University of Cologne, Germany, won the Race to Feed the Planet Impact Competition held during the 2022 Enactus World Cup last week with their project, Save the Grain. The project is a two-part social enterprise that empowers village farmers in Togo and Guinea-Bissau, Africa, through logistics and technology. For their winning project, The University of Cologne students will receive $15,000 in scaling funding for Save the Grain from The Race to Feed the Planet sponsors ADM and LIVEKINDLY. Additionally, the second-place team receives a $10,000 award from the race sponsors.
Save the Grain developed from a desire to solve challenges faced by independent African farmers stemming from low yield and small profits. The solutions, the students realized, would come from improved efficiency rather than increased supply. On the technological innovation side, the students developed a low-tech, low-cost, solar grain dryer to prevent postharvest loss. Simultaneously, they created a farming co-operative to scale capacity and eliminate expensive brokers from the logistics chain. Watch the team's video summary of Save the Grain here.
The Race to Feed the Planet is a year-long program in which Enactus student teams advance the United Nations' 17 Sustainable Development Goals (or Global Goals) through projects that demonstrate progress toward reducing food insecurity and lowering environmental impacts through plant-based agriculture, products, or enterprises. Enactus Germany Country Leader Oliver Faber notes that, "To win a Race is hard work!" and that he is "proud of all students who are engaged to save our planet." Faber appreciates Enactus Race competitions because the funding means that students like the Save the Grain creators are afforded a real possibility to boost their project and "turn its vision into a real business."
Jan Weernink, Gobal Marketing Director, ADM BioSolutions mentored one of the finalist teams. He says, "ADM is proud to have been a sponsor of the Enactus Race to Feed the Planet challenge. As a leader in the agriculture space, we recognize the invaluable efforts of these innovative students and their projects supporting food security all over the world. It was a pleasure to have the opportunity to mentor a finalist team, the students of all teams involved are future leaders of the world, and we are happy to be a part of their path towards global food security and entrepreneurial leadership."
In addition to the Race to Feed the Planet, Enactus offered three other Races during the 2021-2022 program year: the Race to Rethink Plastic, the Race for Climate Action, and 1 Race 4 Oceans. Any Enactus team in the global network can enter a project in a Race. During the year, the Race to Feed the Planet projects advanced to a top-twelve field which was further winnowed to a top-four group. These finalists participated in a juried competition at Enactus World Cup. "It is an honor to be a part of the Enactus World Cup in Puerto Rico and represent Germany and Cologne," says one of the Enactus student representatives, adding, "We have met so many amazing people who are doing great work around the world. Kölle Alaaf!"
At Enactus World Cup, students compete, collaborate, make intercultural connections, and are inspired to further develop skills that foster social entrepreneurship. The Enactus World Cup and the Impact Race Competitions are the culmination of a year or more of innovation by students launching social enterprises as part of Enactus, the world's largest experiential learning platform preparing the next generation of leaders to achieve the Global Goals. The 2022 Enactus World Cup, which took place in Puerto Rico from 30 October – 2 November, was attended by over 3,000 people, supported by over thirty local and global businesses, and is estimated to have generated over $4 million for the Puerto Rican economy.
Founded in the United States in 1975, Enactus is the largest experiential learning network that prepares the next generation of leaders to advance the United Nations' 17 Sustainable Development Goals through social entrepreneurship and innovation. Through its international network of business, academic and student leaders, the organization provides a platform for students to develop leadership and career readiness skills while working with prestigious organizations worldwide. In 2021, Enactus students in 35 countries positively impacted 11.6 million lives through their social innovation projects and helped launch 1,626 small businesses, advancing the 17 United Nations' Global Goals. For more information visit http://www.enactus.org.