Microsoft challenged millennials to tackle the issues plaguing their communities, putting $2,500 on the line in an effort to “spark change” among the country’s youth. The company launched the YouthSpark Challenge for Change in May, and received hundreds of submissions, including an award-winning one from rising Babson sophomore Brian Hickey.
The New York native was named one of five finalists Tuesday for his work with Engeye, a nonprofit whose goal is to improve the living conditions of those in rural Uganda through education and healthcare.
Although Engeye has already made quality healthcare available, enrolled children in school and is working to implement clean water initiatives, Hickey approached Microsoft saying they want to build a “Business & Training Center.” With a center, Engeye would be able to provide economic growth and new opportunities to villagers.
“The idea is to help empower villagers with the basic resources and tools to enable their future success,” Hickey said, before reminiscing on his trip to Uganda. “When I traveled to Uganda, I was humbled and amazed by the joy and gratitude of the people I met, especially the children. One thing that struck me was the desire of the children for the basic things like education and healthcare.”
By winning Microsoft’s YouthSpark Challenge, Hickey will now be able to visit children in Kenya during a three-week volunteer trip. Along with the trip, Microsoft awarded every finalist with $2,500 to fund their projects, a Microsoft Surface RT, a Windows Phone 8 and an Xbox 360 with Kinect.
Other winners came from North Carolina State University, UC San Diego, UC Irvine and Stanford.
For a look at Hickey’s prize-winning submission, check out the video below.