University News | June 17, 2019
Hult Prize @ Hokkaido University’s Aquamou, a team comprised of four Hokkaido University students, has become the first team from Japan to win at one of the Regional Summits. They will be advancing to the next stage in the Hult Prize competition, the Accelerator in London, this summer.
The Hult Prize is the world’s largest student entrepreneurship competition. Each year the competition addresses contemporary issues through the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The current challenge is to solve youth employment and the winning team will receive 1 million dollars to start-up their enterprise.
The team attended the Regional Summit in Tokyo, the last of the 26 cities to hold this stage of the competition, in late April. Around 45 teams participated, including those from Kyoto University, De La Salle University in the Philippines, and Queen Mary University of London in the U.K.
“When we arrived at the venue, my team and I were at first overwhelmed, but we regained our confidence, remembering the level of preparations we received at Hokkaido University,” said Aquamou team leader Chukwu Ifeanyi. “We are now more determined to be a part of the Top 6 teams to be selected for the Hult Prize Finals in New York.”
Campus Director Rina Tsuboi recalled how moved she was to hear the judges announce Aquamou as the winner. “I am so proud of them from the bottom of my heart, and I am also incredibly excited to see what they will do in the future!”
Aquamou is a combination of the English word “aquaculture” and the Japanese word “mou,” meaning a network. To empower local youths, the team is planning to create and develop a sustainable aquaculture network utilizing a fast-growing strain of Tilapia fish. Their project will be first initiated in Nigeria before expanding to other places in Africa.
Chukwu Ifeanyi is a Nigerian student from the Graduate School of Fisheries Sciences. His teammates are Hidenobu Nishikiori, a Japanese student also from the Graduate School of Fisheries Sciences, Kelvin Ikogba, a Nigerian student from the Graduate School of Engineering, and Ranjani Rajagopal, an Indian undergraduate in the Integrated Science Program.
Hult Prize @ Hokkaido University is in the process of raising funds to send Aquamou to the Accelerator Program. You can support them by going to their crowdfunding page (in Japanese).
Written by Katrina-Kay Alaimo, Ph.D.