“Alone we can do little, but together we achieve much”
Inspiring words from Ntombizodwa Makuyana (Tombi), Lucy student and winner of the 2021 LucEnt Challenge
The Challenge invites Lucy students to identify an enterprising solution to a problem relevant to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs)
The LucEnt Challenge invites students from Lucy Cavendish College to identify a problem relevant to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs), and outline an enterprising solution.
The inaugural challenge event took place this weekend. Lucy Cavendish College is grateful to the Judge Business School, who did so much to help plan and deliver the event and to Cambridge Precision Ltd for their generous support of the Weekend and their ongoing encouragement of the enterprising activity of students of the College.
The LucEnt Challenge saw Lucy students combine their knowledge, skills and experience in five multi-disciplinary teams to identify solutions with the potential to create significant economic or social impact.
The LucEnt Challenge Weekend started on Friday 5 November 2021 with drinks, networking and a warm welcome from Dame Madeleine Atkins, President of Lucy Cavendish College and Bruno Cotta, Director, Judge Business School Entrepreneurship Centre and Lucy Fellow, and LucEnt Ambassador Dr. Yaw Ofosu Ansong Snr, PhD Student, Lucy Cavendish College.
Guests included Richard Hefford-Hobbs, Chairman, CPL, Professor Andy Neely, Pro-Vice Chancellor, Enterprise and Business Relations, University of Cambridge, and Anita Tanna, Head of Equity Sales, Barclays. Dr Ruby Pillai, Co-founder and CEO, iWarranty and Lucy Alumna, gave an inspiring and enterprising after-dinner speech.
The Challenge continued on Saturday afternoon, with project evaluation, continued development and ‘speed-mentoring’, bringing together mentors from business and academia, with the student groups participating in the challenge. The students were then asked to pitch their project to the audience and judges, and shortly after the winner was announced.
The 2021 Lucent Challenge winner was the ‘100 Young Women Initiative’, presented by Ntombizodwa Makuyana (Tombi) who benefited from the input and networking opportunities arising from the event, and £1000 prize monies, that can now go towards implementing its vision. This initiative aims to break down the barriers to career progression, that constrain so many young women in Africa.
Ntombizodwa Makuyagna (Tombi), who heads up the Initiative team which is already hard at work delivering online tuition and mentoring, commented:
“This weekend I have been working on my project and gained so much support from the mentors, in terms of how to make my project a reality. We had the opportunity to network with several students and mentors who are working on amazing things. It’s a very rewarding experience.”
The project responds to UN SDG: 4 - Quality Education and 5 - Gender Equality and its goal is to empower girls with career development skills and a support system through the provision of mentors. "Girls have the potential to dream and achieve their career aspirations. Through its 4 week intensive mentoring program, girls are equipped with self-leadership, career research and personal branding skills. They have the opportunity to network with leaders working at top companies and universities such as Deloitte, KMPG, Stanford, University of Cambridge etc. Upon completion of the program, girls become part of a lifelong support network. They will never walk alone".
Sophia Rahman, member of one of the competing teams, Sophos Education, also commented:
“One of the benefits of this weekend is that we have been able to engage with expert minds who are incredibly knowledgeable in the field. We have been able to develop our ideas into becoming a proper business. It’s an amazing experience.”
Ruohan Zhang, from the SaFe Stewards’ team also commented:
“On the LucEnt Challenge I have met so many people with different educational backgrounds and have had so much help from the mentors. It has been a great experience.”
Professor Dame Madeleine Atkins, President of Lucy Cavendish College judged the Challenge, alongside Richard Hefford-Hobbs, sponsor of the event, and Chairman of Cambridge Precision Ltd (CPL). Both commented on the calibre of the presentations, and the agility of the teams, who speedily applied comments and input from the team of mentors, to develop their project plans.
“It has been a pleasure to encourage these entrepreneurial young people, and I hope this is the first of many occasions when we work with the College to support the Lucy vision for inclusion, equality and the development of enterprising mind-sets.”
About the other Challenge teams
Team Members: Katelyn Milligan, Ruohan Zhang, Rebecca Stoll
UN SDG: 5 - Women's Equality
"A single woman living where women are not fully protected by the law might be hesitant to call a maintenance worker into their home. Our idea will provide a sense of safety to single women while also creating jobs for women in a field in which they are underrepresented and considered uncompetitive against male workers. Many women are trained in this field but forced to move to other occupations in the market due to gender discrimination. We will develop a digital network (app and/or website) that offers indoor maintenance services provided by a group of female technicians."
Team Members: Sophia Rahman and Eleanor Bird
UN SDG: 4 – Quality Education
"By creating an online learning platform we aim to democratise education through delivering the highest quality teaching online and most importantly, for free. Though our primary focus is to target UK students, we are aware that this is a global issue and aim to expand internationally and eventually expand our range of content."
University of Cambridge President’s Award for Societal Engagement
Team Members: Ling Paulina Gronczewska and Magda Ali
UN SDG: 10 - Reduce inequality within and among countries
"A volunteering-specific concept similar to the proven format of the Duke of Edinburgh award, piloted in College with the potential to expand across the University. Students would volunteer and record their volunteering over the year with recognition, website features and a special badge of the award to be worn on their graduation gown to honour their service to the community."
Team Members: Eleanor Bird, Georgina Leadley, Sharena Shiv and Ishan Paidhungat
UN SDG: 3 - Good health and wellbeing
"Your.neuro tackles the issue of information exclusivity by putting the ability to monitor brain-health status in the hands of the consumer, all at a fraction of the price of other neuro-monitoring methods. The headband measures the fluctuation of oxygen levels in the brain during movement, and also indicates brain efficiency (metabolism). The data collected can be used to better athletic performance and/or provide insight to how a given training technique is evolving over time. Athletes can then tailor their routine to ensure they are performing at the highest level and achieving an optimal recovery rate."
Bruno Cotta (Executive Director, Judge Business School Entrepreneurship Centre – Fellow)
Bruno has over 20 years of leadership and management experience working with public, private and third sector organisations in the UK and internationally, including founding the Enterprise Lab at Imperial College London to support the next generation of innovators and entrepreneurs. Prior to this, he worked in R&D, product and service development in the emerging technology and telecom sector, contributing to several technical and commercial world-firsts.
He holds a degree in Engineering and an MBA and has completed executive training at the London School of Economics, MIT Sloan School of Management, Harvard Business School and INSEAD. Bruno serves on the advisory boards for Cambridge University Entrepreneurs (CUE) and Cambridge University Technology & Enterprise Club (CUTEC) and on the Governing Board of Chesterton Community College, Cambridge (Cambridgeshire Educational Trust).
Dr. Yaw Ofosu Ansong Snr (PhD Student, Lucy Cavendish College)
Yaw is a licensed Medical Doctor and received his MSc degree in Bioengineering (Neurotechnology) at Imperial College London. During this period, he worked on projects such as building a Soft Robotic Peristaltic Device as well as a Neural Decoder for moving a hypothetical prosthetic limb. At Cambridge, his PhD focuses on neurotech for primary treatment of the spinal cord following injury. He is a serial entrepreneur with startups in healthcare and education, including non-profits. Yaw has a scholarship awarded by the Cambridge Trust as well as the honorary Trinity-Henry Barlow award from Trinity College. Recently profiled by the Department of Engineering as ‘engineer, medical doctor and entrepreneur’, his work has also been featured by the BBC.
Speaker – Dr Ruby Pillai
Ruby is the founder and CEO of iWarranty. Prior to that, Ruby worked as a banking and finance lawyer with international law firms, including DLA Piper, Ropes & Gray International and Baker & McKenzie LLP as well as in-house at DXP. Ruby has 13 years experience in representing corporations and private equity funds in a variety of financing transactions, including high yield debt offering, syndicated credit facilities and subordinated debt and mezzanine financings.
Professor Sabine Bahn (Lucy Fellow), Jenny Blakesley (Head of University of Cambridge Careers Service – Fellow), Lyn Disley (Director, MagStar Ltd), Shaun Grady (Senior Vice President, Business Development, AstraZeneca -Fellow Commoner), Nooman Haque (EMEA Life Sciences & Healthcare at Silicon Valley Bank - Fellow), Dr Catherine Hasted (University of Cambridge Strategic Partnerships Office), Nicole Helwig (Programme Director, Cambridge Social Ventures, Judge Business School), Derek Jones (CEO, Babraham Research Campus - Fellow), Dr Jess Taylor (post-doc researcher)