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  • Afolabi Williams, team leader, Olubusiyi Famobiwo, Menashi Mordi and
    Osagumwenro Naaman Ugbo, members of Team Neon from Whitesands School,
    Lagos, have emerged as the 2018 Power Pitch Winner of the Smoke-Free World
    category of the Conrad Foundation Spirit of Innovation challenge summit held at the
    Kennedy Space Centre, Visitor Complex, Florida, USA.
    The four junior school students made it to the fourth round and final stage of the
    competition, the only representatives from Nigeria and Africa that participated in the
    finals. They pitched their idea on a Virtual Farm project, which falls under the category
    for Smoke-Free World.
    The Conrad Challenge is an international and multi-phase innovation competition
    focusing on five areas: Aerospace Aviation, Cyber Technology and Security, Energy
    and Environment, Health and Nutrition, and recently, Smoke-Free World.
    The Conrad Foundation’s Spirit of Innovation Challenge (SOIC) presents high school
    students with a very broad challenge: create an innovative product that provides
    solution to a real-world problem such that someone can pay for it, by applying
    principles in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).
    Students were not just asked to complete a science project: they were required to
    conduct a research to determine their creation’s potential market impact and develop a
    full business plan.
    This annual competition challenges teams to use science, technology, engineering and
    math innovation, as well as entrepreneurship, to create a more sustainable world for
    today and the future generations.
    The global decline of smoking have many positive health impacts, but also brought
    negative economic consequences to tobacco farmers, many of whom are in developing
    nations. Students were invited to design 21st Century solutions to farmland that is
    currently used for tobacco production, especially in African countries.
    Established in 2008, the Conrad Foundation honours the legacy of Apollo 12 astronaut,
    Charles “Pete” Conrad, and his four decade passion for innovation and
    The students received the Good Citizen Award in the same summit and were
    accompanied to the summit by their coach, Matthew Omotoso, the junior school ICT
    teacher at Whitesands.
  • Inspired by the team’s outstanding young talents and driven by its passion for
    innovation, leading African bank, Guaranty Trust Bank plc, sponsored the young
    innovators to the finale of the Conrad Challenge. The Bank’s sponsorship included,
    among other benefits, the total coverage of the team’s travel and stay in America.
    Guaranty Trust Bank plc has consistently played a leading role in Africa’s banking
    industry and is regarded by industry watchers as one of Africa’s most innovative
    financial institutions. The Bank also maintains an active and clearly defined Corporate
    Social Responsibility policy, which is focused on promoting education for all, fostering
    community development, promoting arts and protecting the environment.

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