Kenya’s Solar Freeze and Illuminum Greenhouses are the winners in Cisco’s Problem Solver Challenge. Solar Freeze was the first runner up, winning $75,000, and Illuminum Greenhouses was the second runner up, winning $25,000. Both projects are from the Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology.
The Solar Freeze project provides portable solar cooling units that enable farmers to transport and store smaller quantities of fresh produce more regularly. Illuminum Greenhouses gives small-holder farmers affordable greenhouses and drip kits that come with solar-powered and IoT sensors which provide crops better protection against pests and diseases. The new greenhouses also come with increased water efficiency through automation.
“We celebrate the young people who took part in this season of the Cisco Global Problem Solver Challenge. I am particularly proud of the two Kenyan companies that have come out on top, who have demonstrated the use of technology to solve critical challenges that affect livelihoods and communities in the country,” says David Bunei, Country General Manager for Cisco East Africa and Indian Ocean Islands.
In 2019, 335 teams across the globe competed for a total of $300,000 in prizes. Teams are tasked with coming up with solutions that address challenges pertaining to critical human needs, the environment, health care and more. “These two companies have illustrated that Kenyans have great ideas that are globally competitive and we are looking forward to seeing the positive impact these two companies will have for Kenyans,” says Bunei.
There are four criteria when it comes to evaluating the entries. They are the innovative technology, which accounts for 33% of the overall rating; the feasibility of the solution (24%); impact and scale potential (33%); and clarity- how well the solution is presented and articulated (10%).
The Cisco Global Problem Solver Challenge was launched in 2017. This was done in order to recognize post-secondary and recent graduates who have created a technology solution that facilitates economic development, and/or solves an environmental or social issue. The Challenge in 2019 garnered over 300 submissions from across the globe, with all participants competing for a chance to win one of the prizes which all came to a total of $300,000.
The winners of the Cisco Global Problem Solver Challenge 2019 will achieve funding, visibility and encouragement, which will encourage the young social entrepreneurs to work on their solutions to be able to apply them in society.
Edited by Kojo Essah
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