Innovation and Entrepreneurship Competition: a meeting full of enthusiasm!

Dec 18, 2017

Likinda, winner of the category 'Fashion and Sustainable Development', receives a prize from the interim Country Director of UNDP.

Young Congolese students of the textile and fashion industry shone with both their ingenuity and sense of entrepreneurship during the innovation competition organized by UNDP and the Higher Institute of Arts and Crafts (l'Institut Supérieur des Arts et Métiers, ISAM). This Thursday 7th December, the award ceremony of the contest 'Innovation and youth employment' took place in Kinshasa.

Several hundred students, academics, representatives from the area of development cooperation, and the media, were present to encourage the winners and admire their designs.

The evening was marked by two highlights:

- The presentation of designs in the category 'Fashion and sustainable development': in a fashion show, 15 students presented all the colors of their creations, made with elements from waste recycling. Evening dress made of bottle caps, a fashion ensemble cut from rice sacks, cocktail dresses decorated with artfully braided plastic bags.... the elegance and ingenuity blew away the public and jury who had real difficulty selecting the winner.

- The fashion show was followed by the presentation to the public of six innovative business projects developed by the participating students in the category 'Innovation and youth entrepreneurship'. Well prepared, the young students overcame their shyness and presented in a concise and relevant manner their business plans in less than 5 minutes.

A competition to stimulate youth entrepreneurship

This evening was the culmination of a process initiated by UNDP to stimulate entrepreneurship and job creation among young graduates. Indeed, UNDP recognizes the crucial role played by artisans, women and young entrepreneurs in the fight against poverty. In partnership with the Higher Institute of Arts and Crafts (l'Institut Supérieur des Arts et Métiers, ISAM), the UNDP therefore decided to develop a strategic partnership to recognize and reward innovative projects by ISAM students, that would be most relevant for the fight against poverty in the DRC.

In total, about thirty students from ISAM took part in the competition, whose objective was to raise awareness among the Congolese population in general and that of Kinshasa in particular, of the role of creators and fashion designers in society, as well as their involvement in recycling objects for the promotion of environmental sustainability. It's also an opportunity for young ISAM students to showcase their talents through the production of fashion designs and innovative projects. The competition was made possible with the participation of Lumumba Lab, a Congolese organization focused on the development of new technologies and innovation. Lumumba lab followed the winning students in the preparation of their projects.

A panel of 4 ISAM professors and 4 UNDP staff judged the quality of the designs to pick the winners. An online vote was also launched from the 2nd to 6th December on UNDP social media accounts to enable the general public to judge the students’ creations and proposals. 

The winners of the competition:

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- Category FASHION AND SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT:

Mr Likinda, a 2nd year student in management and marketing. He designed an evening dress made out of bottle caps and in blue cotton fabric.

- Category INNOVATION AND YOUTH ENTREPRENEURSHIP:

1. Project 'Value Na Ngai', which proposes training people in precarious situations to learn trades such as dressmaking or modeling, to fight against poverty. Project designers: the students Feza Nyembo, Bimpe Badiganga, Likinda, Samba Tshibangu.

2. Project 'Liputa', which proposes the online sale and home delivery of clothes made of grass. Project designers: the students Efumu Lifoka and Bibi Eunice.

3. Project 'Mapendo', which proposes the manufacture at a large-scale of affordable bags, using recycled material. Project designers: the students Aline Feza Juma and Deborah Butendwa.

Each winner received a professional kit consisting of a semi-industrial sewing machine, a sewing bust and an overcasting machine.

The Minister of Higher Education, the Vice-Minister of PLAN, the Director General of ISAM, the interim Country Director of UNDP and the Director of the French Institute were in attendance at the festivities.

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