Nigeria Entrepreneur In Line For £100,000 UK University Research Award

Nigeria Entrepreneur In Line For £100,000 UK University Research Award
Nigeria Entrepreneur In Line For £100,000 UK University Research Award

Providing affordable, eco-friendly cooking solutions for millions of Nigerians is the goal of a finalist for a research award worth £100,000.

Kenneth Uche, 28 from Lagos, Nigeria, is one of nine entrepreneurs set to be considered for the University of Reading’s just IMAGINE if… award.

The Just IMAGINE If… award, held every two years, invites forward thinkers to submit their sustainable business ideas for evaluation by renowned entrepreneurs and social innovators. The winner receives a substantial award of £100,000 for research and business support from the University of Reading and the Henley Business School.

Smokeless Briqs Energy Solutions was created by Kenneth Uche to address Nigeria’s critical need for environmentally friendly and cost-effective cooking solutions.

Kenneth said: “My company’s smokeless briquettes are made from agricultural waste and burn longer than ordinary charcoal without producing any smoke or sparks. By using these briquettes, we can help to reduce deforestation and conserve the environment.

“Smokeless Briqs Energy Solutions has also developed an eco-friendly smokeless stove. This stove is made from metal and electronic waste and has a stainless steel burn chamber. It can reach around 200℃ in less than 10 minutes, which is twice as fast as a traditional stove. The stove has proprietary technology that converts the heat produced by the stove into around 30 watts of electricity. This extra power source is especially important for communities that have limited access to electricity.”

Winner to be announced

The University of Reading’s Just IMAGINE If… research award asks entrepreneurs to come up with ideas to address a global challenge that supports one of the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals. Since its inception, the award has inspired more than 500 applications and created 20 finalists. Previous winners from Peru and India have benefited from the award, advice, skills, and network support provided by the University of Reading, Henley Business School and the University of Durham.

The winner of the research award will be announced by just IMAGINE if… founder Paul Lindley, University of Reading Chancellor and former UK Entrepreneur of the Year at a gala dinner at Henley Business School’s Greenlands campus on Thursday, 21 March.

Paul Lindley, Chancellor of the University of Reading, said: “We see so many innovative ideas developed through just IMAGINE if… and our finalists’ submissions showcase the most exciting and creative proposals from hundreds of applicants.

“Not only are these ideas concepts that will help people all over the world, but they are sustainable ideas – meaning they will benefit people for years to come.

“Unlike other business innovation competitions, just IMAGINE if… connects budding entrepreneurs with philanthropy and academia to drive positive change.

“We are giving people across the globe the chance to do good for society, and we are proud to be at the forefront of this movement.”