TakaTaka Solutions, a team from the London School of Economics that has developed a business to collect and recycle waste in Nairobi, Kenya, won the $50,000 grand prize at the Dell Social Innovation Competition, Dell and the RGK Center for Philanthropy and Community Service at The University of Texas at Austin announced at an evening ceremony on May 16.
TakaTaka Solutions aims to deliver affordable waste collection services to all income areas, recycling and composting of up to 85 percent of collected waste and creating new jobs.
Now in its fifth year, the competition inspires university students to approach global social problems through entrepreneurship, technology and sustainability and empowers them with unique skills and opportunities to succeed in a globally competitive workforce.
"These teams exemplify ingenuity, passion and entrepreneurial spirit, which is why Dell believes in this program," said Karen Quintos, senior vice president and chief marketing officer at Dell. "This competition gives students an opportunity to put their ideas into action and address some of the world's most serious social issues. Libraries Across Africa's was especially innovative by delivering both digital and customizable book-based services.
"We are most grateful to Dell for being outstanding partners on this exciting journey of empowering and engaging students worldwide in social entrepreneurship," said Peter Frumkin, director of the RGK Center at the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs. "Once again our winners demonstrate the tremendous impact that students can have on the world, especially with the support of partners like The University of Texas at Austin and Dell."
TakaTaka Solutions is one of five finalist teams from among 1,400 entries from 85 countries who participated in a competitive business venture plan process and were selected to travel to Austin to present their unique business idea to a panel of expert judges.
A second-place prize of $20,000 was awarded to Malo Traders while Sanitations Solutions received a third-place prize of $10,000. This year's competition also included the following category-specific awards:
- Libraries Across Africa received The Dell Technology Award and $10,000 for the social innovation that best leverages technology.
- Waste not Wood received the Tomberg Prize in Environmental Sustainability and $10,000 for the social innovation that best solves an environmental problem.
- Possibilities Pakistan took home this year's Webbie Award along with $1,000 for receiving the most online votes throughout the competition.
- The Dell Social Innovation Competition also provides university students with a chance to network with local for-profit and non-profit social entrepreneurs to learn about mentoring opportunities, internships and volunteer positions.