These people’s stories tell us how their I WILL statement went from an idea into action, and how they did it.
The I WILL Award was held every two years (2012-2020). It offered a €15,000 prize to bring the best big idea into practice. A shortlist of six finalists competed in the exciting final round, a live event that made them pitch their big plan. Each finalist had a limited amount of time to prove to the jury that their willpower can change society and inspire others. Check out the previous I WILL Award finals and read about the winners – and what happened to them – to find out more about their ideas for making a positive change.
The 2020 award was won by Blockheating, an innovative start-up that recycles and exchanges heat from data processing centres to greenhouses. Other competing impactful business ideas in the 2020 final included upcycling fashion waste, creating a circular economy, and virtual reality technology in outpatient care.
In the exciting 2018 final there were two winners. Back in 2018, Boxrs4ALL impressed the judges with its project to donate boys’ underwear to Tanzania for each pair of underwear it sold – it has since updated its business model to help girls too by addressing period poverty, and changed its name to Moja Wear. And Juvoo was the start-up that developed a digital administration buddy for healthcare professionals. Each of the two start‑ups won €15,000 to put their inspiring idea into action.
Weather data service Kukua won 2016’s I WILL Award. it was co-founded by RSM bachelor graduate Ollie Smeenk, and provided a weather data service for farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa, to enhance food security and cope with climate change. As traditional weather patterns have disappeared, frequent droughts and floods have led to increased famine and 1.5 million tonnes of food are wasted every year. Kukua’s weather monitoring solution used existing low-cost technologies and sent weather forecasts to farmers via SMS to address this problem.
Dwillo, which provided an online mentoring community, was chosen as the winner for the I WILL Award in 2014. It operated in universities and organisations and facilitated mentoring and coaching relations between students and young professionals. Having a mentor helps mentees in making difficult choices related to study, career and personal development. In return mentors enjoy a fresh perspective and gain intrinsic satisfaction by giving back.
Carlo Cronauer and Paola Gutierrez Watts, who both graduated from the RSM MBA programme in 2012, won €15,000 of funding for their CroMiDo project, which won the I WILL Award in 2012. It allows donors anywhere in the world to help another person in need with a system of micro-donations sent by mobile phone.