A University of Manchester PhD student and budding entrepreneur has today been named as the most outstanding black student in Britain.
Edwin Broni-Mensah, a 25-year old who created his first computer game at the age of seven and now runs his own company, was selected from a shortlist of 200 people. Edwin, studying for an Applied Maths PhD as well as running his innovative refillable water bottle company GiveMeTap, topped the list by Future Leaders magazine, sponsored by Barclays Capital, Deloitte and the University of Cambridge.
The shortlist features 100 graduates in total, all who have balanced good academic grades with impressive achievements outside of their studies. Edwin is a shining example of this, having set up a company which encourages local businesses to offer free refills of water to anyone carrying a distinctive GiveMeTap bottle. The firm then sends 70% of its profits to help support water projects in African regions where it’s needed most.
Currently, Give Me Tap is supporting the All4One Namibia Water Project to provide clean water to 1,200 people in that Kalahari area of the southern African country. The aim is to reduce the number of plastic bottles in landfill sites. Edwin has already managed to build up a network of over 43 restaurants and eateries as outlets in Manchester and, recently, Salford as well. Edwin now plans to recruit more outlets across Greater Manchester and the rest of the country, and is also hoping to offer GiveMeTap’s services at the 2012 Olympics.
Born in Edmonton, North London, Edwin hopes after completing his PhD to work full-time on GiveMeTap. He said he was delighted to receive such impressive recognition for his achievements. Edwin added: “I am extremely delighted and feel very honoured at being recognised as one of the Future Leaders. I was overjoyed at being named number one for on such a prestigious list; and my parents were excited too.”
“What gives me the most pleasure is being in a position where I can meet and inspire young people to pursue their dreams as literally anything is possible, and the people in Future Leaders list prove that.” “Looking forward, I would love the opportunity to speak with leading eateries chains so that I can expand GiveMeTap into every city across the UK, in order to fund our chosen water projects in Africa.”
Edwin was selected by a panel of judges after a rigorous process that included contacting every university in the country and formal interviews with all those on the shortlist. Edwin’s first-class degree in Mathematics and Computer Science, which led to him being awarded a straight scholarship to study his PhD, impressed judges immensely, as did the fact that he managed to achieve all this while running his own bourgeoning business.
Martin Henery, entrepreneurship lecturer at Manchester Business School, said: “Edwin’s entrepreneurial spark was clear from the outset – it’s rare to work with someone who combines the ability to make things happen with such original thinking. “Give MeTap is one of those concepts that nearly everyone can see the value of straight away, but it’s really tough to make happen. It needs true vision and tenacity to stick with it and see it through to the end goal.”
The 100 students will all be honoured on September 6th, at a prestigious reception at the House of Lords hosted by Lord Victor Adebowale.