Launched in: 2016
Application Timing: Jan. - Feb.
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.
2020 Ford College Community Challenge Winning Projects
University of Cologne: Cologne
A 2019 Ford College Community Challenge winner, Socialbnb is an online platform that connects travelers with Non-Government Organizations (NGOs) that offer unused rooms as temporary homestays. Thus far the program has supported 200 NGOs and by December of 2020, the team anticipates nearly 2,500 overnight stays. Funds from the 2020 Ford College Community Challenge will go towards the expansion of Socialbnb which includes app development and business licensing. Currently, NGOs such as a local English school in Cambodia can list 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 Augsburg: Augsburg
Project Wash and Wipe creates reusable makeup wipes made of organic and sustainable materials. To help manufacture the wipes, made of certified bio-cotton cuttings, the has recruited the help of MutMacherMenschen. It was important to the Wash and Wipe team that the local community was involved and MutMacherMenschen hires and reintegrates people after mental health issues. The company also already manufactures sustainably conscious products and has a customer base who would be inclined to purchase a reusable makeup wipe. The project has a shared goal of helping the local community and environmental sustainability. The team plans to hire 13 members at the MutMacherMenschen site and reduce disposables through the sale of its reusable makeup wipes which can be laundered after use.
RWTH Aachen University: Aachen
IT4Kids is a volunteer program that trains university students to become IT teachers. After training, new IT teachers will provide IT courses for primary school aged children. As an added benefit to the university students, they will also receive a wage as part of the program as well as on the job experience. IT4Kids is also unique in its affordability for primary schools. The program does not replace a teaching program and recognizes the gap. Therefore, since university student participants are not qualified teachers IT4Kids has created a software that guides and prepares its teachers throughout the term. The team has partnered with ZDI Aachen, a local network of schools, businesses and the city council on the program and hopes that this affordable new program will help transform strategy for schools and give students an opportunity to learn about IT.