For Immediate Release
Contact: Christopher Pollock, Director of Communications and Marketing, firstname.lastname@example.org, 315.364.3350
AURORA, N.Y.—Patience Koenig '22, a Wells College student who hails from Liberia, was named a winner of the Global Impact Challenge during the 25th United Nations Youth Assembly last weekend. The competition, sponsored by the Friendship Ambassadors Foundation, took place Feb. 14–16, 2020 in New York City.
Patience, who is studying environmental science and sustainable food systems, initially came to Wells College via SMART Liberia, a highly selective college preparatory program in the Liberian capital of Monrovia. She pitched her idea on how her business, PK Eco Storage, can aid Liberian farmers by providing solar-powered storage facilities for their produce. It's something she has personal experience with, given that she has helped manage her family's cocoa farm in the country's mountainous region.
In March 2019, Patience was the campus winner of the "Be Your Own Boss" Business Plan Competition, an annual event sponsored by the Wells College's Sullivan Center for Business and Entrepreneurship. She later competed in a similar regional competition along with seven other Wells College teams.
Identifying transportation and storage as two major challenges to farmers bringing their fruits and vegetables to the Red Light market in Monrovia, Patience proposed mobile mini-storage facilities that can attach to vehicles commuting to and from their farms, trips that can often take multiple days over hazardous terrain. She also proposed large cold-storage facilities within the Red Light market itself—which currently lacks such storage—thus helping to prevent spoilage and allowing produce to be sold over a longer span of time. Without these solutions, up to 80 percent of rural farmers' produce goes to waste before it ever reaches the market.
"I'm passionate about using this eco-friendly storage to reduce food waste and improve farmers livelihood and income in Liberia," Patience said. "PK Eco storage will also improve food security and production in rural Liberia."
Global Impact Challenges (GICs) are incentive competitions organized by partners in countries around the world to identify innovative startups and solutions using exponential technology to solve the world's pressing challenges. Patience competed along with other regional finalists at the Global Impact Challenge during the 25th session of the United Nations Youth Assembly. The event is held by the Friendship Ambassadors Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that is formally associated with the United Nations Department of Global Communications.
With the $1,000 seed funding she won in the competition, along with valuable mentorship provided by the UN Youth Assembly, Patience will continue carrying out additional research as she works to bring these projects to life.
About Wells College
Wells College is a nationally recognized private coeducational liberal arts college located in Aurora, New York, on the eastern shore of Cayuga Lake. Wells, which recently celebrated its 150th anniversary, helps students gain the knowledge, skills and experience to build their confidence and create their own unique path in life. With dozens of majors and minors available in the sciences, arts, humanities and preprofessional programs, Wells provides a purposeful curriculum and an immersive educational experience that is steeped in tradition. Students can also take advantage of 13 NCAA Division III athletic teams, 18 study-abroad programs; over 40 student-led organizations and clubs; and cross-registration agreements with Cornell University, Ithaca College and Cayuga Community College. More at wells.edu.