Patience Koenig ’22 Wins Global Impact Challenge Competition at United Nations Youth Assembly

February 21, 2020
For her winning concept—which focuses on transportation and storage solutions to aid farmers in her home country of Liberia—she will receive seed money and mentoring from the organization.
Patience Koenig ’22 received a $1,000 seed grant from representatives of the Friendship Ambassadors Foundation: Yumna Khan, youth development specialist and Andrew Macdonald, executive director.

For Immediate Release

Contact: Christopher Pollock, Director of Communications and Marketing,, 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.


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