University students in Germany awarded grants from Ford Fund to support their social enterprise
COLOGNE, Germany — Student teams that have met social and environmental challenges in their communities have been crowned the winners of this year's Ford College Community Challenge.
The Enactus Germany National Final—held virtually for the first time due to COVID-19—saw three university projects each receive €5,000 grants from Ford Motor Company Fund for initiatives that are building sustainable communities.
Known as Ford C3, the competition inspires student teams to develop proposals that address an urgent, unmet social need or challenge in the local community.
Naturschwärmer, from Augsburg University, create reusable make-up wipes using organic and sustainable materials and processes.
Uniquely, the project's manufacturing process combines the use of organic fibres and leftover cuttings, while production of the wipes is empowering local people who have suffered mental health issues by providing them with responsibility and employment.
The organic nature of the product means they cause less waste, as they can be simply added to the laundry for reuse—rather than going into landfill like traditional throw-away wipes—plus they are also gentler on the skin.
IT4Kids, of RWTH Aachen University, is a student volunteer programme that trains students to hold IT courses in primary schools. IT4Kids also provides teaching materials and teaching software so the children receive a playful and fun introduction to the topic of computer science.
The project is a win-win for everyone: the students gain a volunteering opportunity and work experience that includes a fair wage while encouraging them to be community-minded, and at the same time, schools receive access to affordable IT education for a more digital future.
University of Cologne's Socialbnb team, whose online platform connects travellers with social and ecological aid organisations that offer unused rooms as temporary accommodation, secured a grant for the second year in a row—due to the not-for-profit enterprise's success and growth over the past year.
Debbie Chennells, Ford Fund Manager, Ford of Europe, said: "We were really impressed by all the entries to our Ford C3 competition that we run with Enactus Germany. They showed innovative thinking, teamwork, entrepreneurial action and a motivation to help strengthen communities. Congratulations to the winning teams."