Launched in: 2016
Application Timing: Jan. - March
In partnership with global nonprofit Enactus, Ford Fund invites student teams to develop ideas for innovative projects that address an unmet social need or problem in the local community —ranging from safety to workforce development to access to mobility, and more. Each year, up to three Enactus student teams are selected to receive a €5,000 grant to implement their project. Through this program, students use entrepreneurial action to make people’s lives better and help their community become a more sustainable place to work and live.
2019 Ford College Community Challenge Winning Projects
Rohr-University of Bochum: Bochum
Gaia Greenhouses fights malnourishment and harvests scarcity in Rwanda by providing small farmers with a holistic business model consisting of a bio-fertilizer, a storage system to prevent mold and high-quality seeds. In cooperation with the electrochemistry department at Ruhr-University Bochum, the project will provide farmers with a nutrient measuring system allowing them to analyze the fertilization and watering needed to optimize crop output using organic ingredients. The Enactus team strives to allow small farmers the opportunity to make their agricultural production into a business. The project participants will have the opportunity to harvest their crops together and process their surplus into products, such as potato chips. Together with project partners, these products can be sold at fair prices. The revenue will then be used to empower small farmers in Rwanda and surrounding countries.
University of Cologne: Cologne
Socialbnb is an online platform that connects travelers with Non-Government Organizations (NGOs) that offer unused rooms as temporary homestays. The innovative approach aims at stabilizing the cash flow of NGOs, which sustainably reduces their donation dependency, thus increasing the long-term success of their aid projects. For example, an NGO such as a local English school in Cambodia can list their unused bedrooms as homestays on www.socialbnb.org. Socialbnb shows the homestay and its merits, as well as the profile of the NGO. It features the aid project the traveler will be supporting by staying at the homestay. Every project states specific financing goals to ensure high levels of transparency. The benefit of the tourist is a unique and authentic way to experience the country while doing good for local communities. By supporting the aid project, every tourist will help shape the local community in a much needed way.
University of Passau: Passau
Inn.mybag turns materials that would otherwise be thrown away into something brand new. The business idea focuses on reusing roll-up banner ads and sewing them into unique, eco-friendly bags. With the assistance of a local business incubator, the Enactus team can adapt to the needs of their border community and help solve the current challenge of integrating refugees into the local society and job market. So far, the team has conducted market research, designed the bag, established lasting partnerships with local companies and trained artisans to make the bags. The bags are currently sewn by two women refugees from Syria. By establishing Inn.mybag as a brand, the Enactus team has improved the women’s’ skills in not only creating high-quality products but also in business-related matters. Through the project, the livelihoods of women will be sustainably improved.