Team of five Kenyans scoops Sh120m prize

Thursday, September 22nd, 2022 09:20 | By

Five students from St Paul’s University are the newest millionaires in town — after bagging the US $1 million (Sh120 million) top prize of the Hult Prize Global competition.

The five (above) clinched the cash prize after their Eco-Bana innovation emerged the best during the competition’s finals, presided over by former US President Bill Clinton in New York, United States, on Tuesday.

Yesterday, President William Ruto, in a tweet, congratulated the five young students, saying their innovation will motivate young entrepreneurs.

He wrote: “Congratulations to Eco-Bana, a Kenyan social venture started by university students, that has just won the prestigious Hult Prize and a cash award of $1 million. The prize is awarded to entrepreneurs who strive to tackle pressing global issues through innovation.”

Separately, St Paul university hailed the students.

 In May this year, the Eco-Bana team  emerged tops in Johannesburg’s  Regional summit, and in the Global Accelerator fete in Boston in June, 2022.

With $1,000,000 global start-up prize as its anchor activity, the Hult Prize Foundation seeks to bring impact-focused programmes, events, and training to over a million students globally, creating a pathway for youth everywhere to take action and build a better world,” reads part of the press release from St Paul’s University.

Eco-Bana Ltd was among the six finalists in the competition — namely: Cooseii (Taiwan), Breer (Hong Kong), Savvy Engineers (Pakistan), Openversum (Switzerland), and Flexie (Australia).

It becomes the second team  from Kenya  to walk away with such a noble award after BuuPass (Kenya’s largest online bus, train and flight ticketing platform) in 2016.

The social enterprise by the five students endeavors to solve period poverty by manufacturing biodegradable, eco-friendly and hygienic sanitary towels in place of the plastic sanitary towels.

Their main goal is to bring to a stop the manufacture of plastic sanitary towels while fighting poverty.  Eco-Bana Ltd intends to pitch their innovation in different innovation competitions that they come across. In a previous interview, Brian Ndung’u the Chief Communication and Marketing Officer said: “We have a well outlined future product line of making eco-papers, eco-mats, eco-carrier bags and eco-trays. We also plan to partner with companies that offer Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and charitable organizations so as to empower as many girls and women as possible. We also predict to sell more than three million pads, generating over US $50 million and employ more than 2,000 people by 2024.”

On it’s Twitter account, Hult International Business School wrote: “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.”

On top of that, Hult Prize posted: “A big shout -out to Eco-Bana Ltd from Kenya,the one and only 2022 Hult Prize Winners of the $1M USD. Congratulations team!”

With their business mind and the thirst to serve humanity and Mother Nature, Eco-Bana Ltd promises to continue creating sustainable enterprises which will mould the future of the sanitary towels industry that will drive entrepreneurship growth.

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