Four students from St Paul's University on Tuesday night, September 20, trounced other finalists to clinch the 2022 Hult Prize held in New York, USA.
The team comprising Keylie Muthoni, Dullah Shiltone, Lennox Omondi and Brian Ndung’u, was awarded a Ksh120 million prize for their innovation, Eco-bana Limited.
The students crafted a way to make biodegradable sanitary pads using banana fibre. Through the innovation, they aim at preventing the manufacturing of plastic by providing biodegradable towels to tame period poverty.
The Hultz prize finals saw five finalists make their pitches before an elite team of judges who would decide on the ultimate winner. Former US President Bill Clinton was also in attendance.
The other finalists include Breer (Hong Kong), Savvy Engineers (Pakistan), Openversum (Switzerland), Cooseii (Taiwan) and Flexie (Australia).
Before the announcement, one of the Kenyan students exuded confidence about their innovative design taking home the prize.
“With $1 million (Ksh120 million), we're confident that we will be the best and become number one producers of biodegradable sanitary towels in Kenya and East Africa,” Omondi told Nation.Africa
"We're a team with a mind for business and a heart for the world. We’ll continue creating sustainable enterprises that will shape the future of the sanitary towels industry that will drive entrepreneurship growth,” he added.
During their pitch, Ndung'u projected that their startup aimed at creating over 2,000 employment opportunities for Kenyans in 2024 and generating over Ksh6 billion in sales
“On Tuesday, at exactly 1.58 pm New York time, Eco-Bana is here to ask for one million dollars to make our dreams come true. We predict to sell more than three million pads, generating over Ksh6 billion and employ more than 2,000 people by 2024,” the student noted.
Before the event, Clinton had attended the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) in New York, where he heaped praises on Kenyan activist, Kennedy Odede for empowering the lives of disadvantaged groups in society.
"A long-time friend of our family, Kennedy Odede, founder and CEO for Shining Hope for Communities has made a huge difference from almost the beginning of his very young life and he is here to help us kick this off,”