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Team Neon wins at Conrad Final

Afolabi Williams, team leader, Olubusiyi Famobiwo, Menashi Mordi andOsagumwenro Naaman Ugbo, members of Team Neon from Whitesands School,Lagos, have emerged as the 2018 Power Pitch Winner of the Smoke-Free Worldcategory of the Conrad Foundation Spirit of Innovation challenge summit held at theKennedy Space Centre, Visitor Complex, Florida, USA.The four junior school students made it to the fourth round and final stage of thecompetition, the only representatives from Nigeria and Africa that participated in thefinals. They pitched their idea on a Virtual Farm project, which falls under the categoryfor Smoke-Free World.The Conrad Challenge is an international and multi-phase innovation competitionfocusing on five areas: Aerospace Aviation, Cyber Technology and Security, Energyand Environment, Health and Nutrition, and recently, Smoke-Free World.The Conrad Foundation’s Spirit of Innovation Challenge (SOIC) presents high schoolstudents with a very broad challenge: create an innovative product that providessolution to a real-world problem such that someone can pay for it, by applyingprinciples in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).Students were not just asked to complete a science project: they were required toconduct a research to determine their creation’s potential market impact and develop afull business plan.This annual competition challenges teams to use science, technology, engineering andmath innovation, as well as entrepreneurship, to create a more sustainable world fortoday and the future generations. The global decline of smoking have many positive health impacts, but also broughtnegative economic consequences to tobacco farmers, many of whom are in developingnations. Students were invited to design 21st Century solutions to farmland that iscurrently used for tobacco production, especially in African countries.Established in 2008, the Conrad Foundation honours the legacy of Apollo 12 astronaut,Charles “Pete” Conrad, and his four decade passion for innovation andentrepreneurship.The students received the Good Citizen Award in the same summit and wereaccompanied to the summit by their coach, Matthew Omotoso, the junior school ICTteacher at Whitesands. Inspired by the team’s outstanding young talents and driven by its passion forinnovation, leading African bank, Guaranty Trust Bank plc, sponsored the younginnovators to the finale of the Conrad Challenge. The Bank’s sponsorship included,among other benefits, the total coverage of the team’s travel and stay in America. Guaranty Trust Bank plc has consistently played a leading role in Africa’s bankingindustry and is regarded by industry watchers as one of Africa's most innovativefinancial institutions. The Bank also maintains an active and clearly defined CorporateSocial Responsibility policy, which is focused on promoting education for all, fosteringcommunity development, promoting arts and protecting the environment.

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