Designed to create an out-of-the-classroom learning experience, Unilever’s IdeaTrophy Competition is a youth development initiative which focuses on the development of personal leadership and entrepreneurial competencies amongst undergraduates.
Established as an innovative business competition for students, Unilever declared Idea Trophy Competition as a furtherance of its commitment to develop human capacity and talent potential for the future.
Nine years after the first edition, the company has not only deepened entrepreneurial competencies among students, but it has also helped talented young Nigerians to realise their potential. Unilever Nigeria is part of the multi-national Unilever group, which produces products like Close Up, Lux, Knorr, Sunlight among others.
This was affirmed recently during the finale of the 2021 edition, where, after a keenly contested competition, Team Itesiwaju emerged the overall winner of the edition. The initiative, which is in line with the company’s quest to groom young talents got entries from different universities across Nigeria at the 9th edition held virtually.
“Our aim is to create a bright future for the Nigerian youths and that’s why we focus on the development of personal leadership and entrepreneurial business competencies amongst university undergraduates,” said Carl Cruz, Managing Director, Unilever West Africa.
According to Cruz, IdeaTrophy is a business competition, targeted at University undergraduates across Africa. The competition provides students with a unique opportunity to work on real-life business challenges and get access to Unilever’s world-class training and mentorship by leaders.
This competition is also an opportunity to discover great talents with the objective of grooming them to become successful business leaders and seasoned professionals.
For the FMCG company, education is both a process and lifelong experience, hence it equips the youth through the challenge with necessary knowledge, expertise and experience to become better business leaders.
The company’s plan is to make the competition better every year, with lots of entries received for this edition leading to the shortlisted teams that meet its set criteria. And, just like previous editions, this year’s edition was exciting and informative.
While the competition lasted, participants from various teams appeared as business strategists, who have come to proffer product ideas for the Sunlight brand. Aside from exposing members of various teams to source-to-end product challenges, the platform also offered participants networking opportunity with business leaders in the corporate world.
This year’s competition themed, “More Than You Expect” focused on the development of personal, leadership and entrepreneurial business competencies,” said Ola Ehinmoro, the Human Resources Director, Unilever West Africa. He added that through the competition participants will gain ‘confidence’ and business skills needed to succeed in the real world.
Since inception, the IdeaTrophy competition has given Unilever the opportunity to contribute to the improvement of knowledge in the younger generation. “We are committed to creating a brighter future for the younger people and this is one way, Unilever is achieving that,” Ehinmoro stated.
For the FMCG company, IdeaTrophy challenge as an initiative is a youth development initiative which has come to stay. Participants and attendees can look forward to a great competition that will be keenly contested as only the best of the best will emerge final winners.
At this year’s virtual edition, the top six teams that met the pre-set criteria on Sunlight brand’s application challenge, were shortlisted into the Unilever Nigeria IdeaTrophy’s virtual ‘U-Camp’ bootcamp for coaching and mentoring. The participants were also had a questions and answers (Q&A) session on Marketing and Innovations with the HomeCare Marketing Director.
This gave them opportunity to ask what they wanted to know about the brand.Though it has been described as Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives by some analysts, IdeaTrophy Competition is a unique intervention programme that government and other corporate entity should encourage to develop talents and prepare Nigerian youths for the future. One of its benefits is the free coaching sessions from top-notch achievers within the business cycle, which the competition offers to participants annually.
Unilever has made its intention known over the years through the creative competition that it is out to look for passionate and creative individuals with the ability to build on innovative strategies that will be a great fit with the project brief while being applicable to real life business situations.
While participants get exposed to Unilever sustainability initiatives, they also stand to gain experience working on real business challenges; mentorship from experienced business leaders; access to resource toolkit and problem-solving frameworks with some exciting prizes and internship opportunities.
Nigeria’ unemployment rate increases to 33.3% in Q4 2020 from 27.1% in Q2 2020, according to the NBS. The number of persons in the economically active or working age population (15 – 64 years of age) during the reference period of the survey, Q4, 2020 was 122,049,400.
However, as part of Unilever’s contribution to contribute to employment creation, IdeaTrophy winners are recruited as interns after leaving school. This year’s winners of the IdeaTrophy will represent Nigeria at the African level and if they win, they will proceed to the global competition.
Currently in its 9th edition, IdeaTrophy has given Unilever the opportunity to contribute to the improvement of knowledge in the younger generation. Unilever is committed to creating a brighter future for the younger people, as a challenging and creative experience, where students need to figure out how business works in real life while developing their own skills and competencies. This has proven that the initiative is a business-oriented learning challenge and not a game.