When you think of your typical college student, video games and dorm style ramen noodles usually come to mind.
But, that’s not the case for four FGCU students. Andrew Morgan, Trent Capaccio, Kenneth Horning, and Richard Martin will be flying out to Boston, Massachusetts to compete in the 2018 Hult Prize competition .
The Hult Prize an an annual competition where student teams around the world are crowd sourced for energy innovation ideas. This year’s prompt was simple: harnessing the power of energy to transform the lives of 10 million people. Ok, well it’s not so simple. However, the four students did create an idea from it.
They created a prototype for a solar powered purification system. I asked them who their target audience was, and they told me it’s African women.
“Women in Africa often walk miles to collect water, and we wanted to help build a product that would help that problem,” Andrew Morgan said.
But you can’t make a product you don’t believe in, right? So the team create the ‘4 Gallon Challenge’. Every week, they would walk from the Lutgert fountain on FGCU’s campus, and walk to the Emergent Technologies Institute (ETI). That’s about 5 miles. Once they get about halfway, they carry 4 gallons of water on their backs, while walking to the ETI building.
“It really made me sympathize with the women who do this on a daily basis,” said Trent.
The process of creating an idea that would possibly change the lives of 10 million people has encouraged them as students, but as entrepreneurs.
The point of the Hult Prize to “help start-ups that solve the world’s toughest issues”.
“We want to create a product that not only changes lives, but doesn’t break down in a year or so,” said Andrew. “We want to go down there, and show people how to actually use this to better their quality of life.”
I asked what they would do if they don’t end up winning the regional competition in Boston. Those who are successful get move into the Hult Prize Accelerator. There they will attend the finals at the United Nationals and pitch for a million dollars.
“Well, it will definitely be a road block,” Andrew said. But something tells me it won’t be the end for these four students.
We’ll see how Boston treats them the week of March 9th and 10th.