Kenya: How Bic Is Capturing Young Entrepreneurial Minds in Kenyan Schools

Bic, the French manufacturer of pens has been running a programme among Kenyan schools that aims to strengthen the entrepreneurial skills of young minds and at the same time helping promote conservation spirits.

The BIC Education Challenge launched late last year as a partnership between BIC East Africa, the BIC Corporate Foundation, and Enactus Kenya. The challenge which focuses on fostering better learning conditions by promoting social entrepreneurship and innovation in education saw submissions from students from all over the country. Five shortlisted projects were invited to present in front of a panel of BIC experts at the BIC East Africa headquarters in Kasarani.

The competition is supported by Enactus, the world's largest experiential learning platform dedicated to developing the next generation of entrepreneurial leaders and social innovators. The Enactus network of global business, academic, and student leaders are unified by their vision--to create a better, more sustainable world.

Various schools and universities experimented with various ways to represent both entrepreneurial and ecological prowess. BIC East Africa announced Hydro-Pads project from Jaramogi Oginda Odinga University of Science and Technology as the winner of the first edition of the challenge.

The winning team was granted USD 1,000 which will be used to support the development of their Hydro-pads project. The Hydro-Pads focused on using water hyacinth stalks and waste papers to make hydro pads for girls. The project aims to solve most of the challenges faced by girls during menstruation and the high cost of pads in the market. The project also aims to create employment opportunities for the marginalized in the community.

The Adopt-a-Pen team from Egerton University was named the first runner up receiving a grant of USD 600, and The EHEB project presented by students from Moi University was selected as the second runner up and awarded a grant of USD 400.

Other participating teams for the challenge included the Adopt a Pen team from Egerton University whose project aims to make children more environmentally conscious by repurposing used pens. The EHEB project presented by students from Moi University focused on ensuring children in need have access to quality reading and educational materials. Other projects also included the Agrenactus project presented by students from Moi West University, which aims to implement a low-cost self-sustaining feeding vertical agriculture program that helps provide students with learning materials and uniforms. Lastly, the Tunza project presented by students from Multimedia University works to reduce school dropouts by monitoring the behavior of students and promoting girl child education.

The winning team will also receive mentorship from the BIC East Africa team as they prepare them for the 18th Enactus National Competition taking place in June 2020. The National competition winners will then represent Kenya at the 2020 Enactus World Cup later in the year competing against 37 Enactus affiliate countries. This year, the Enactus World Cup will take place in Utrecht, The Netherlands.

BIC East Africa Deputy General Manager Michael Sinclair said, "The BIC Educational Challenge was formed to promote education, innovation, and social entrepreneurship. We were very impressed with the projects presented by the students and the entrepreneurial spirit demonstrated. We are proud to have created a platform that helps showcase students' ideas at a national and international level. It is our greatest hope to see these projects come to life and lead a positive impact in Kenya. We thank Enactus Kenya for this strategic partnership and we look forward to working with them on future editions of the BIC Education Challenge."

"This partnership with BIC adds concrete value to Enactus Kenya's objectives to expose students to corporate mentorship and preparation for current job market needs through experiential learning through impactful community projects," said James Shikwati, Enactus Kenya country director.

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