I am excited to share that I have been selected as 1 of the 20 global winners of the Schmidt Futures Reimagine Challenge 2020 challenge. Launched in August 2020, the Reimagine Challenge called on students from across the world to submit innovative solutions to spark global movements for change and build back from COVID-19. Following a rigorous evaluation process, the Reimagine Challenge team went on to select 20 winning submissions, having received 838 submissions from across the world.
Titled “Using Technology to Elevate the Status of Smallholder Farmers and Amplify their Contribution Towards Achieving Food Security“, my submission was based on the FoodPrint Farmer platform – a blockchain-enabled platform for digitising smallholder farmer operations that I am currently building. FoodPrint was birthed whilst exploring use cases of blockchain technology in the MPhil in FinTech degree at the University of Cape Town (UCT). You can read my submission in the Reimagine Challenge Anthology which can be downloaded from here.
What it means to be named a winner
It is humbling to be named a winner in a global competition. It underscores the relevance of emerging technology in solving challenges faced in emerging economies, as well as the potential of novel data-driven business models going forward.
Being named a winner also reminds me of a quote from Brian Tracey that I try to live by – “I’ve found that luck is quite predictable. If you want more luck, take more chances. Be more active. Show up more often.”
Relevance of such challenges for students around the globe, and especially African students
Challenges such as the Reimagine Challenge provide an opportunity for students to exercise creativity outside of the traditional academic setting, validate ideas on the global stage and accrue some innovation capital. For African students in particular, they additionally provide an opportunity to not only build diverse international networks but also demonstrate the ability to compete and contribute on the global stage! It is especially encouraging to note that 4 of the 20 winning submissions are from the UCT.
What comes next
In the words of Mark Zuckerberg, ideas do not come out fully formed. There is further prototyping and piloting required before realising product-market fit for the FoodPrint Farmer platform. Outside of building FoodPrint, I am proceeding with further research and engagements on Blockchain Technology and Data Privacy, as well as technology mentorship in South Africa.
Keep Moving Forward.
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- Schmidt Futures is a philanthropic initiative by Eric and Wendy Schmidt. Eric Schmidt was the CEO of Google from 2001 to 2011.
- For the Reimagine Challenge 2020, Schmidt Futures received 838 submissions from students enrolled in 264 schools in 40 different countries, representing 86 nationalities and speaking 53 primary languages.
- Shout out to everyone who has played a part in shaping the FoodPrint idea. This includes A/Prof Co-Pierre Georg, Oranjezicht City Farm Market, UCT MPhil FinTech class of 2019, UCT GSB’s Solution Space and the Oribi Village team.
- Links to official announcement and press coverage:
- Official Schmidt Futures announcement – Schmidt Futures Announces Reimagine Challenge Winners.
- eNCA News – UCT leads in global challenge.
- UCT News – UCT students scoop lion’s share of Reimagine Challenge accolades