ImpactRays, a team of Nigerian technology innovators, has been shortlisted to compete for the $1 million Hult Prize in New York. The social enterprise startup will join 19 other startups from around the world to participate to win the prize. The Nigerian startup is also the only African team in the competition.
ImpactRays is a social enterprise start-up, which develops sustainable precision farming solutions targeting the bottom of the pyramid farmers, through flexible and affordable financial arrangements.
Team ImpactRays consists of Abdulazeez Uba Muhammad, Faisal Sani Bala and Badamasi Imam Ya’u, students of the International Islamic University Malaysia.
The team won the regional level of Hult Prize competition in Kuala Lumpur, the capital of Malaysia, and will be participating at the final round in New York later this year.
Faisal Sani, Chief Operating Officer at ImpactRays said that the team’s chances are high for the prize despite lack of finance or support from the government.
“Our chances are high because we have made it this far upon all odds. The challenge is pretty clear when you compete with teams given support financially and otherwise by their respective governments and business community in their countries.
Bala, a graduate assistant lecturer at the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University (ATBU) Bauchi, said the team is currently facing finance challenge as other teams were being financed by their governments.
On funding and support, Sani said the team is looking forward to sponsors.
In a chat with journalists last week, he explained that the Malaysian Government almost took up sponsoring them in the competition but later withdrew owing to the thought that the beneficiaries of the technology will be Nigerians and not Malaysians.
“I and one of the team members were yet to obtain their United Kingdom visas to attend the final six shortlist programme coming up in about two weeks’ time.
“Some of us have engaged in dry season farming as students, and have been faced with the challenge of manual flooding irrigation, the high cost of fuel, cost of labour involved in watering, fertilizer wash-off, and water shortage.
“These problems motivated me and Aliyu Dala Bukar to design, implement and patent a smart solar-powered irrigation system to ease irrigation farming through cutting the cost of labour and eliminating the use of petrol,” he had said.