Ford Motor Company continues building on its commitment to empowering the youth through education with the announcement of the winners of the Ford College Community Challenge (C3), run in partnership with global non-profit organisation Enactus.

Enactus is a platform to practically demonstrate the power of entrepreneurial action to transform lives and shape a better, more sustainable world.

For the second successive year the University of KwaZulu-Natal walked away with top honours at the South African finals and the chance to compete on the global Enactus stage. UKZN presented their ‘Ubuntu Social Enterprise’ project – responding to the challenges articulated in the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals around poverty, unemployment, and inequality.

The premise of UKZN’s project is to share knowledge with small-scale farmers by providing mentorship and educational assistance on vertical farming, worm farming and drone technology. The project has already generated a total revenue (for the community entrepreneurs served) of R512 369, with new farming methods having a measured positive impact on the environment – saving up to 60% of water and producing yields up to five times the generally accepted norm.

Further to the Enactus national finals, each year the Ford Fund selects four universities from the Enactus participants to receive a $5 000 grant. The Ford Motor Company Fund is the philanthropic arm of Ford Motor Company and in partnership with Enactus, it promotes the development of innovative solutions amongst university students to address critical needs in their communities. Projects are supported in Ghana, Kenya, Morocco, South Africa, Brazil, the United States, Germany and the United Kingdom, striving to create a more sustainable place to live and work.

“The C3 programme and Enactus have always sought to encourage innovation, empower people, promote social mobility and support communities, and every year I am proud to see the next generation of entrepreneurial leaders rising to the challenge,” says Neale Hill, Managing Director, Ford Southern Africa. “Every year I look forward to the exceptional ingenuity and enthusiasm from the Enactus participants.”

Last year the Central University of Technology, Rhodes University, the University of KwaZulu Natal and the University of Mpumalanga received grants from Ford. This year finalists from the Central University of Technology, Vaal University of Technology, Walter Sisulu University and the University of Mpumalanga will receive grants from the Ford Fund in order to implement their projects.

The Central University of Technology will be implementing an EcoBin project. They will build dustbins for domestic use as well as large containers to store leftover food for homeless people. Not only will this project address waste management but it will also alleviate hunger by providing food for homeless people. 

The Vaal University of Technology have identified a sustainable coal project that addresses issues of more affordable alternative energy, while also providing knowledge of how to run a successful and sustainable coal businesses.

The Walter Sisulu University will undertake a Greenfields farming project focusing on organic farming and improving the yields of rural farmers. This project aims to introduce new ways of farming and shifting rural farmers from subsistence farming to commercial farming. This will be done by providing mini greenhouse grow beds and seedlings to rural farmers. The project will also provide business management and organic farming training.

And lastly the University of Mpumalanga have created a model called Hatching Hope. Hatching Hope is driven by a give-back model, whereby beneficiaries will expand the network of egg layers by bringing back a once-off set of eggs which will be hatched and then redistributed to the next set of beneficiaries.

“At Ford we believe that education is the foundation for success. It is key to making lives better for everyone, and I would like to thank all the Enactus students for using that gift in a positive and impactful way,” concludes Hill.

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