Team Fuego, composed of three Bachelor of Commerce students at Strathmore University Business School emerged as the winning team during the 9th Edition of the Unilever Idea Trophy Competition. Joan Kareri, Anoushka Kassam, and Pankaj Varsani are all in their final year of study awaiting graduation later in the year.
The theme of this year’s competition was ‘Rethinking Plastic Packaging’. The participating teams were tasked with coming up with disruptive innovations and strategies aimed at helping Unilever reduce its plastic footprint along with increasingly moving towards a circular economy.
Pankaj noted that the team settled on an idea based on their passion for solving social issues. “What drove our idea choice was the passion of each of us team members in terms of the social issues we would personally like to solve. We wanted to combine what each of us wanted to solve in one idea. We picked an idea that gave the youth an avenue to solve social issues across the globe,” he said.
Speaking on her experience, Joan said, “my experience participating in the Unilever Ideatrophy Competition has been very insightful as it has not only enabled me to learn how to formulate a creative idea, but how to develop it and come up with an execution plan from start to end. The competition has been a journey full of learning and growing and has given me confidence going into the start of my career.
Anoushka described the competition as stressful but a fun experience overall. “I have never experienced a competition like this before where competitors are from across Africa and the ideation time is so short. Additionally, with everything happening online, it was trickier to have engaging discussions and create presentations that flowed well. But it was definitely an upward learning curve and got easier with each meeting. I like to think of it like the first ‘East Africa’ wide round was the experimental round and the ‘Africa’ wide one was our main show, she said.”
The Unilever Idea Trophy Competition is a creative marketing experience, where participants figure out how the Unilever business works in real life while developing their skills and competencies. It is an opportunity for you to become part of Unilever East Africa’s ambition to create a brighter future for all East Africa.
Every year, a new Idea Trophy brief is released, and participating teams compete to present innovative and disruptive ideas for Unilever Brands while driving purpose and sustainability. During the duration of the competition, the teams work with Unilever brand leaders, partners, and corporate leadership, receiving unique learning experiences at all stages.
This year’s competition was held virtually due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. “It was not difficult to adapt as I had been taking online classes for my final year at Strathmore, moreover, the team dynamic was great even though our interactions were majorly online,” Joan said, speaking on the virtual nature of the competition. She further highlighted work ethic and their complementary individual strengths as key in the team’s dynamic. “My teammates and I had a similar work ethic and various strengths which complemented each other, making it easier to work as a team,” she noted.
Pankaj noted that some of the factors that contributed to the team’s success included capitalizing on the team’s strengths and identifying weaknesses early enough. “We put our strengths together and overcame any weaknesses as a team; this was one of the factors that contributed to our success, he said.
Congratulations team Fuego. The team will now head on to the global finals where they will be representing Africa alongside Team Kiza, also from East Africa.
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Article by Juliet Hinga
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