Team Topez Farms have emerged overall winner of the Hult Prize University of Port Harcourt (UNIPORT) On Campus Challenge 2020 held on the 12th of November 2019 at the Offshore Technology Institute, University of Port Harcourt in Nigeria.
Team Topez Farms include the following persons: Tochi Opara-Eze, Preye Solomon, Theophilus Uviekugbere and Gibson Odoka.
Topez Farms, an agritech startup, links smallholder farmers directly to the urban markets (both individual and industrial consumers). Largely, millions of smallholder farmers in rural communities in Africa have just the village open market square to sell their products. The consequence of this long-established approach is that without the needed middlemen, sales of farm produce are reduced, hence, wastage which gives rise to hunger and poverty. Also, observing the unfaithfulness of the middlemen to the urban consumers by sometimes adulterating food products and yet sell them at exorbitant prices, all accumulated in inspiring and driving Team Topez Farms to build an agritech startup that focuses on market linkages.
Considered “the Nobel Prize for students”, the Hult Prize is the ‘world’s largest engine’ for the launch of sustainable, impact-centered startups. Sponsored by Hult International Business School, in partnership with the United Nations, the competition challenges university teams from around the world to solve the most pressing global issues with viable business ideas.
The HultPrize at the University of Port Harcourt On Campus Challenge is one of many events that take place across campuses in universities all over the globe where students compete by presenting a business idea aimed at solving the challenge put out by the Hult Foundation.
The challenge for this year was to “Build Startups That Have A Positive Impact On Our Planet With Every Dollar Earned”.
The Hult Prize University of Port On Campus program was the maiden edition of the competition at the University of Port Harcourt and it garnered over 30 registered teams (online registration period: 25 September 2019 – 18 October 2019) comprising of more than 90 persons in those teams competing for the chance to represent the university at the regional finals.
Challenging Teams (finalists)
The following are teams that participated and competed at the inaugural Hult Prize UNIPORT On Campus program: Team Topez Farms; Team Base; Team MTH; Team Prestige; Team Earth Defender; Team TrashCorp; Team Terra; Team AutoGas; Team Acumen; and Team DIV.
The event, which was spearheaded by the Hult Foundation appointed Mr. Ibeama Ogechukwu Tammy as Campus Director for the year.
According to Mr. Ibeama Ogechukwu Tammy:
“It’s not every day that you have an opportunity to change the world.
A team [of you] will be representing all of us at the upcoming Hult Prize Regional Finals happening on March 12, 2020. This is our chance to show the world that our institution is dedicated to Impact. See you in New York!”
Some of the members of the organizing committee for the University of Port Harcourt on Campus program included: Queensley Benson – Assistant Campus Director; Ossai Gladys – Partnership/External Relations Coordinator; Isaac Sixtus – Branding/Design Coordinator; Anthony J. Oyakhilome – Social Media/Publicity Coordinator; Ezirim Ucheoma – Teams Coordinator; Alonge Lisa – Marketing/Content Coordinator; Tochi Onyia as Event/Logistics Coordinator and over sixty volunteers.
The competing teams had access to their team appointed mentors to help them to refine their ideas and business models from the moment they registered for the On Campus program.
The esteemed mentors for the program were:
- Victoria Victor; a content developer and digital skills trainer.
- Kingsley Ime; a business developer and success coach.
- Dr. Charles Nwachukwu; the founder of Health Leads Initiative.
- Tamunotonye Harry; the community manager of DatHappy.
- Tordi Kpalap; a financial adviser on the AIESEC global financial board.
- Archibong Deborah; a fashion designer.
- Rhema Obuge; an alumni and former president of Impact Leaders Club University of Port Harcourt chapter.
- Prince-Pleroma Nwoko; a lead consultant for SoftPen Nigeria.
- Valentine Bassey; a lead consultant with Valux Consult.
The teams, which had ideas ranging from technology startups, educational-technology startups to agricultural startups were to pitch their business ideas to a team of judges with a wealth and vast range of experience and knowledge.
The inaugural Hult Prize On Campus University of Port Harcourt had the privilege of having the following individuals as competent and objective judges:
- Dr. Ogheneruona Diemuodeke
Assistant Director of the Offshore Technology Institute. He works as a senior lecturer in the University of Port Harcourt in the Department of mechanical engineering. He has over 11 years of work experience as an academic. He is a fellow of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), USA, and obtained a Kauffman Teaching Certificate. He is the Lead Author for the Working Group III contribution to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) AR6 report.
- Ighodalo Oseyomon
He is the CEO of Bamboo Energy Limited, a petroleum product distribution company, which he founded while being an undergraduate at the university. He is also the founder of Bamboo Real Estate and Construction Limited in Rivers state, Nigeria. Also, he is a co-founder of Morgate Financial Services, an accounting, audit and marketing consultancy firm focused on developing accounting solutions for SMEs.
- Emily Wale Koya
She is the founder of the School of Personal Branding – an online academy where she sells e-products on business, marketing, personal development and personal branding. She is a crusader of a social net worth.
- Maple Dappa
He works as a brand strategist with Mapemond Resources – a brand engineering company, helping businesses and organizations define and implement their brand strategy in line with their core business objectives. He writes on business, branding, life, leadership and other subject areas of interest and he is the author of ‘Seeds of Greatness’ – an inspirational book aimed at empowering and equipping young Nigerians with the basic skills, principles, ethics and guidelines they need to thrive.
- Honey Ojukwu
She is a Radio Presenter with CoolFM 95.9, an event host and a well-trained Public Relations Officer with Real Honey Media helping brands connect to their specific target audience.
- Philip Asuquotes
He is a strategy expert with over 10 years of experience in strategy management and consulting. As a strategy expert, Mr. Asuquotes runs a strategy consultancy practice and also runs his signature strategy management coaching program called Strategy Mastery with Coach Asuquotes, but best known as The Strategy Mastery Program. He is the founder of the Pan African Quintessential (PAQ) Network, a thought leadership platform with a vision to drive innovation in Africa. The PAQ Network has members in various African countries and runs an annual conference that has been hosted in different cities.
Sponsors and Partners
The Hult Prize at the University of Port Harcourt on Campus competition team had partnership and sponsorship agreements with various brands in Nigeria. The sponsors and partners include: Sammies Restaurant, Bamboo Group, Beat FM, Studio Blaze, TechCulture, PositiveNaija and Hibiscus Lite.
Next Step: Regional Finals
Team Topez Farms hereby represents the University of Port Harcourt (UNIPORT) at the 2020 Hult Prize Regional Finals.
This is a sponsored post by PositiveNaija as a media partner for the UNIPORT Hult Prize On Campus Program 2020.