Y-Prize Challenge

The world has solutions to poverty. Can you distribute them to those in need?

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Photo credit: D-Prize.org

Our world has already invented many effective poverty solutions, but, sadly, most fail to reach actual people in need. Millions of lives would improve if people had access to proven energy, education, health, and other interventions. If you had access to the invention, could you get it to those in need? If so, join the Y-Prize! Benefits of getting involved include:

  • Improving lives
  • Deepening friendships
  • Sharpening entrepreneurial and business skills
  • Building your résumé
  • Winning up to $100,000

See the tabs below to view our two current challenges:

The Problem

An estimated 600 million individuals in sub-Saharan Africa light their homes using kerosene lamps. These lamps are dim, cost a minimum of $35 per year to keep fueled, create poor indoor air quality, and cause fires that can injure families. The problem is particularly acute in rural Africa, where kerosene rates can be 35 percent higher than in urban areas. Alternatives, such as batteries and candles, are similarly expensive.

The Proven Solution

Solar lamps provide up to fifteen times more illumination than kerosene lamps. They cost $15–$40 per unit and pay for themselves in less than a year for most households. Families switching from kerosene to solar lamps can see household incomes increase by 15 to 30 percent, and they can double the number of available study hours for children. Solar lamps will also reduce safety hazards and improve indoor air quality.

Your Challenge

We will award up to $38,000 to a Y-Prize team of three to five students who can sell solar lamps to 25,000 households over the course of two years. The team should begin with a three-month pilot program which should sell at least three hundred lamps to rural or urban-slum homes and generate at least $5,000 in revenue.

Eligibility

In order to be eligible to apply for the Y-Prize Challenge, you must be currently enrolled as a student at BYU. Students must comply with BYU Honor Code guidelines and values in order to be eligible for the competition.

Get Involved

BYU students from all majors and disciplines are needed to tackle this challenge! To learn more about how to get involved and how to create a Y-Prize team, please email us.

The Problem

An estimated 4 million newborns pass away annually throughout the world, many due to asphyxiation and respiratory-related complications in the developing world. These deaths could be prevented through respirators. Although the technology is available, the high cost creates low accessibility to those in need. In 2014, BYU engineering students created a low-cost respirator. While this is a viable solution for newborn inhalation needs, accessibility analyses and sustainability business models need to be configured.

The Proven Solution

BYU’s respirators show two main advantages over similar products addressing accessibility for target demographics: low-cost and easy management. Common methods in developing countries for addressing these needs are passive intubation, hand-operated manual respirators, and primitive medical practices such as cold water shock-therapy. These methods are either ineffective or cost significant time and attention.

The more successful methods such as nasal oxygenation and use of Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) machines cost an average of $20,000—a price which impoverished communities cannot afford. Additionally, these other methods require significant training to operate, even among regional hospitals. BYU’s ventilator averages around $500 and needs little training, greatly increasing accessibility.

Your Challenge

The Y-Prize Newborn Challenge will award up to $100,000 to a Y-Prize team who can identify a developing community with respirator needs and high potential impact, develop a viable business model for creation and selling of the BYU respirator, and develop a competitive market space for selling the product. As this is a localized, change-based project, the needs of identified communities will vary across teams.

Eligibility

In order to be eligible to apply for the Y-Prize Newborn Challenge, participants must be operating as, or with, currently enrolled BYU students. Furthermore, team members must comply with the BYU Honor Code.

Get Involved

Participants from all majors and disciplines are needed to tackle this challenge! To learn more about how to get involved and how to create a Y-Prize team, please email us.