A team representing the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) and KIC InnoEnergy competed in the finals of one of the world's leading business competitions in New York City on 26 April.
The five-strong team, who presented a project aimed at boosting the use of solar power in Africa, received a "good luck" message from EU Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth Commissioner, Androulla Vassiliou, on the eve of their participation in the anti-poverty HULT Global Case Challenge.
Thousands of students, representing over 130 countries and six continents, competed across five cities and online to reach the final, which took place at New York Public Library in the presence of former US President Bill Clinton and Nobel Peace Prize Winner Muhammad Yunus yesterday. The Clinton Global Initiative will receive $1 million (approximately €800 000) to implement the best project.
In her message to the team, Commissioner Vassiliou said:
"When creating the EIT, Europe wished to promote the innovation capacity of students like you so they can bring concrete answers to modern societal challenges. Your success in this competition is also a success for this new approach to innovation in Europe of which you are the first ambassadors."
Team spokesperson Vincenzo Capogna, 24, an Italian energy engineering graduate from La Sapienza University in Rome, said:
"The idea of our project is to eradicate kerosene in Africa by the end of the decade. Our aim is to launch a pilot in Kenya, where the market is ripe for solar lighting. In order to achieve this ambitious goal, the barriers to the mass adoption of this technology must be brought down. The greatest of these barriers is access to finance."
About the EIT KIC InnoEnergy team
Vincenzo and the other team members are all post-graduate students on the SELECT Master programme, an Erasmus Mundus double degree run by KTH Technical University in Stockholm and UPC (Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya) in Barcelona. The course is sponsored by the European Union and one of the EIT's KICs: KIC InnoEnergy. The other team members are: Francesco Fuso Nerini, 24, an Italian environmental engineering graduate from Polimi (Politecnico di Milano); Eduardo Maria Appleyard (captain), 30, who studied mechanical engineering at McGill University (Montreal); Eric Bowler, 26, a mechanical engineering graduate from Purdue University (West Lafayette, Indiana); and Oisin Tummon, 24, who studied mechanical engineering at UCT University (Cape Town).
Watch the video created by the team showcasing their concept:
FOCUS-EMPOWER-GROW - Solar Lighting for Africa
About the HULT Global Case Challenge
The aim of the 2012 Hult Global Case Challenge is to drive solutions around those key social areas, which we believe have the greatest net impact on global poverty. Through collectively overcoming social challenges in education, energy and housing, it is our belief that we are undertaking global poverty on a grass-roots level. Through what has become the world’s largest crowd-sourcing initiative dedicated to solving global social challenges, the Hult Global Case Challenge seeks ideas and solutions from the world’s best and brightest future business leaders that will cause a step-change in the vicious global poverty cycle.