It was a mammoth task; 60 entries for the 2016 I WILL Award, worth €15,000, were submitted and each one has now been assessed. Each one of the I WILL Award entries is a plan for an idea full of willpower that has the potential to change society. And now, the final six entries have been selected from the 60; they will be presented at the I WILL Get in the Ring event on Thursday 3 March in the Erasmus Paviljoen at Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM).

The I WILL Award is a competition organised every other year by RSM’s goal-setting and forward-thinking initiative, I WILL. It recognises and celebrates ambition, and the jury wanted ideas that have potential to become inspirational and serve as an example for the rest of the world. They can be plans that come from the worlds of academia, business, media, sports or public services, but they must have the potential to make a tangible impact in a society or community.

The six finalist teams, and very brief descriptions of their plans are: (in no particular order):

  1. Reflow
    Open-source technology for recycling plastic into high quality 3D print filament. Filament sales increase the income of more than 150 million waste pickers in developing countries.
  2. Pearltect
    A bracelet on a buy-one-give-one business model which emits an unpleasant smell. Its invisible DNA marker can sexually demotivate an attacker and leaves a trail to the crime scene.
  3. Sustainable Food Lab
    Involving students and visitors as active designers of future food. Contributions will be used for formulating sustainable food management strategies to challenge the food sector.
  4. Injaz
    Supporting the intellectual capacity and resettlement of refugees through short, modular university courses, by bringing together partners with a customised app to deliver face-to-face lessons.
  5. Kukua
    Delivering low-cost SMS weather forecasts to sub-Saharan farmers affected by droughts and floods brought on by climate change, with the potential to reduce famine and avoid 1.5 million tonnes of wasted food every year.
  6. Edibles
    An online auction site for ’unloved food’ presents a commercially viable solution to the problem of unsold food about to pass its sell-by or use-by date, with a percentage of profits going to food banks.

There’s more about the finalists’ plans on the I WILL Get in the Ring page.

A great mix

Chairman of the I WILL Award jury Johan Hofstra, CEO of marketing innovation company ProjectX, said: “We had a great mix of applications. Around 40 came from groups and 20 from individuals, with a mix of submissions from current students, alumni, staff members, faculty and the wider RSM community. The quality of the ideas and plans were outstanding and very inspiring for the judges.”

Other members of the jury are RSM associate professor Ting Li, STAR board member Suzanne Bickes, RSM’s director of communications Willem Koolhaas, and RSM Dean Steef van de Velde.

Preparing pitches

The chosen finalists are now preparing their pitches for the I WILL Get in the Ring event on 3 March, 2016. Each of the finalists will put forward a spokesperson to compete through several rounds in a live head-to-head battle with another finalist, in front of an audience. The winner of each round gets just one minute to convince the jury – and the audience – why they should win €15,000 to put their plan into action.

Tickets are available to the event, and the audience has an active role to play in choosing the winner of the € 2,000 audience prize.

More information

Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM) is one of Europe’s top-ranked business schools. RSM provides ground-breaking research and education furthering excellence in all aspects of management and is based in the international port city of Rotterdam – a vital nexus of business, logistics and trade. RSM’s primary focus is on developing business leaders with international careers who can become a force for positive change by carrying their innovative mindset into a sustainable future. Our first-class range of bachelor, master, MBA, PhD and executive programmes encourage them to become critical, creative, caring and collaborative thinkers and doers.

For more information about RSM or this release, please contact Erika Harriford-McLaren, communications manager for RSM, on +31 10 408 2877 or by email at

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