The American ice cream giant Ben & Jerry has sent 15 finalists of a competition to work with vanilla farmers in Fort Portal on how to develop environmentally sustainable business ideas.
The 15 finalists of the Join Our Core competition represent some of the brightest business minds across Europe. The finalists arrived in Uganda on Monday and will stay in western Uganda for four days.
Ben & Jerry's European director, Jochanan Senf, yesterday explained that the firm uses Ugandan vanilla in their ice cream and they wanted the finalists to interact with the farmers.
The finalists would spend at least three days living with some Fair Trade vanilla farmers, sharing views and lessons about optimizing production and environmental sustainability. The five overall winners will get a 10,000 Euros cash prize each and mentoring from the social entrepreneurship group Ashoka.
They will also be promoted on a special commemorative Ben & Jerry tub next year. The competition initially featured nearly 200 entries; they were whittled down to 25 semi-finalists who pitched their business ideas to an expert panel of judges from the world of sustainable and ethical business, including Ben & Jerry's co-founder, Jerry Greenfield. Eventually they were reduced to the 15 finalists now in Uganda.