ICT For Circularity (ICTfC) Competition

The Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation (CEI) at the American University in Cairo (AUC) School of Business in collaboration with the Afretec Network would like to present the ICT for Circularity (ICTfC) Competition. The competition invites students from Afretec network universities to use advanced technology (ICT) to help businesses and public institutions use resources wisely. This means reducing waste, extending product lifetimes, and promoting ethical and sustainable practices for the benefit of both society and the environment.

The competition themes will require the students to work with the latest technologies like Big Data, Blockchain, Artificial Intelligence (AI), and the Internet of Things (IoT) to create practical solutions in their chosen area.

The Partners

AUC Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation

The American University in Cairo's School of Business kickstarted the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Program (EIP) in 2010, a pioneering initiative in the MENA region. EIP played a vital role in spotlighting entrepreneurship's impact on economic development, contributing significantly to Egypt's entrepreneurial ecosystem. By fostering ideation and innovation, EIP supported startups across various stages, linking them with accelerators, incubators, and investors. In 2015, aligning with the UN's Sustainable Development Goals, EIP evolved into the Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation (CEI). This transformation expanded its focus to include critical themes such as gender, climate, and sustainability. Over time, entrepreneurship and innovation became central concepts for achieving key objectives like financial sustainability, employment, and gender equality. CEI's evolution demonstrates that fostering entrepreneurship and innovation as a mindset can contribute to community development. Today, CEI stands as a respected brand in the ecosystem, serving as a go-to reference for stakeholders engaging with youth, women, startups, MSMEs, and underserved communities.

African Engineering and Technology Network (Afretec)

The African Engineering and Technology Network (Afretec) is a pan-African collaboration of technology-focused universities from across the African continent. Afretec will create a platform for technology-focused universities in Africa to drive inclusive digital growth by collaborating on teaching and learning, knowledge creation, and entrepreneurship activities within the area of engineering and technology.

Member Universities: Carnegie Mellon University Africa (Kigali, Rwanda), The American University in Cairo (Cairo, Egypt), University of Lagos (Lagos, Nigeria), University of Nairobi (Nairobi, Kenya), University of Rwanda (Kigali, Rwanda), University of the Witwatersrand (Johannesburg, South Africa)

Key Focus Tracks:

1. Environment Track:

- Regenerative agriculture and sustainable food production - Access to reliable, green, and affordable energy sources - Ensuring clean water and proper sanitation - Utilizing water energy - Food nexus applications and .. See More

2. Social Track

- Enhancing supply chain management with added value - Implementing sustainable waste management practices - Considering population and resource dynamics - Evaluating the impact of developmental projects on communities .. See More

3. Economic Track

- Designing eco-friendly products through eco-design
- Exploring shared economy models
- Exploring other economic innovations

4. General Track

This track includes any other ideas that are related to the main competition theme, but does not fit perfectly in any of the first 3 tracks.

Objective & Rationale

The goal is to positively impact the planetary boundaries (PBs), considering factors like climate change, biodiversity, and more. The nine planetary boundaries are:

1-Climate Change: Measures carbon dioxide concentration impacting global temperatures.
2-Biodiversity Loss: Focuses on species extinction, vital for ecosystem health.
3-Biogeochemical Flows: Tracks nitrogen and phosphorus cycles, critical for ecosystems.
4-Ocean Acidification: 5-Absorption of excess carbon dioxide makes oceans more acidic, affecting marine life.
5-Land-System Change: Concerns land conversion for human use, impacting habitats and biodiversity.
6-Freshwater Use: Addresses consumption impacting rivers, lakes, and aquifers, affecting ecosystems and communities.
7-Atmospheric Aerosol Loading: Involves microscopic particles affecting climate and organisms.
8-Stratospheric Ozone Depletion: Protects the ozone layer, crucial for filtering harmful UV radiation.
9-Novel Entities: Involves chemicals, new materials, and organisms with potential irreversible effects on Earth's systems, including pollutants like plastics and genetically modified organisms.

Therefore, the students are encouraged to create prototypes and proof of concept for products, services, and systems that address critical issues in pollution, ecosystem degradation, social injustice, and climate change impacts.

Rubric Items

You will be evaluated based on the following criteria:
➔ Innovation and Originality: How unique and creative is your solution in addressing planetary boundaries?

➔ Relevance to Planetary Boundaries: Does your prototype clearly connect to at least one of the nine planetary boundaries? Show that you understand the boundary and how your solution helps conserve it.

➔ Scalability: Can your idea grow to have a significant impact on planetary boundaries, whether at a local, regional, or global level?

➔ Economic Viability: How economically feasible is your prototype? Consider costs, market potential, and the likelihood of financial sustainability or profitability.

➔ Environmental Impact Assessment: Did you analyze the environmental impact of your prototype thoroughly? This includes resource use and end-of-life disposal.

➔ Interdisciplinary Integration Approach:How well did you combine ideas from different fields (biology, engineering, economics, etc.) to tackle the complexities of planetary boundaries?

➔ Relevance to Community Challenges: Did you think about the ethical aspects, including fairness in resource distribution, labor practices, and community impact in the region?

Online application deadline

3 Feb, 2024

First Filtration Results

Emails out to all ACCEPTED TEAMS for the upcoming round

Online general training

Saturday, 10 Feb, 2024
10:30 AM - 5:00 PM Cairo Time GMT+2

Sunday, 11 Feb, 2024
3:00 - 8:00 PM Cairo Time GMT+2

Accepted teams must attend the General Entrepreneurship Business training days. The General Entrepreneurship Business Sessions will include various aspects that aim to equip individuals with a holistic understanding of the various aspects of starting and running a business

Submission of Revised Problem Statement

13 Feb, 2024

Second filtration Result Announcement

14 Feb, 2024

Specialized Training

Saturday, 17 Feb, 2024
01:00 PM - 5:00 PM Cairo Time GMT+2

Sunday, 18 Feb, 2024
3:00 PM - 10:00 PM Cairo Time GMT+2

Initial Pitch Deck Submission

Deadline 20 Feb, 2024 @11:59 pm Cairo time

Initial Pitch Deck Filteration

Qualified teams to be announced Feb 21, 2024 @11:59 pm Cairo time

Recorded Elevator Pitch (60-second video)

February 26, 2024 @11:59 pm Cairo time

Mentorship sessions

24-29 Feb, 2024

Final Pitch Deck Submission

29 Feb, 2024

Short listed /Qualified teams for the Final Judging Panel announcement

March 3, 2024

Final Judging panel

5-6 March, 2024

Closing and Announcing winners

7 March, 2024 (TBC)

Team Formation & Eligibility Criteria

• Teams consist of 3-5 undergraduate and graduate students.

• Teams are encouraged to have at least 1 graduate member within the team.

• Team members should be students enrolled in a university from Africa.

• Students in the same team should be from the same university.

• Teams are encouraged to seek a faculty mentor.

• Teams preferably recruit diverse backgrounds (Engineering, Business, Environmental Sciences, Public Policy...etc.).

• Teams are encouraged to be gender diverse and inclusive.

After the teams are formed

• It's crucial to submit applications within the designated timeframe to be considered.

• Interested groups should diligently complete the application form, ensuring they meet all eligibility criteria, such as age, background, and educational levels.

• Teams should upload an idea brief statement that shows how their diversity will contribute to their success in the competition


🏆 The total prize for all teams is $4000 🏆

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Answer: It's a competition encouraging students to use Information and Communication Technology (ICT) for innovative solutions, addressing environmental, social, and economic challenges related to planetary boundaries.
Answer: Graduates and undergraduate students from Afretec Network university partners are eligible to participate. Teams should consist of 3-5 members from the same university, and faculty mentors are encouraged.
Answer: The competition will be virtual
Answer: The competition focuses on Environment, Social, Economic and General tracks. Examples include regenerative agriculture, sustainable waste management, and eco-design.
The team leader is responsible for completing the application on the Untap platform and submitting it. Afterwards, you will receive a confirmation email with additional instructions.
Answer: Winners are chosen based on criteria like innovation, relevance to planetary boundaries, scalability, economic viability, and more. Winning teams will recieve a total of 4000 USDs
Answer: Yes, there are two trainings, the first training is the Online training which covers pitching, technical mentorship for prototype development, and communication/presentation skills. Additionally, teams will have online mentor meetings. The second training is the specialized training which will be dedicated to technically support the teams in their own area of interest, the mentorship sessions will be one on one sessions to help students achieve proof of concept or prototype.
Answer: Yes, each university is encouraged to nominate one or two faculty members to participate in the general training week.
Absolutely, all documents must be submitted in English.

You got what it takes?