Banofi Leather secured the coveted $1 mln Hult Prize 2023, marking a significant milestone in the world’s largest social entrepreneurship competition tailored for student innovators.
In a groundbreaking achievement, Banofi Leather, a startup rooted at Yale University, secured the coveted $1 million Hult Prize 2023, marking a significant milestone in the world’s largest social entrepreneurship competition tailored for student innovators.
Founded by Jinali Moody SOE ’23, Banofi Leather has engineered a pioneering method to transform discarded banana crop remnants into an eco-conscious leather alternative, poised to combat the environmental impact of the fashion industry.
Renowned fashion designer and environmental advocate, Stella McCartney, presented the prestigious Hult Prize to Banofi during the culmination of the year-long competition held in Paris on September 22. The startup outshone five other finalists in this fiercely competitive arena.
Moody expressed gratitude to the Yale community for their unwavering support, emphasizing the instrumental role played by TSAI City, SOM’s startup cell, and CBEY in nurturing the Banofi project.
For the challenge, participating teams were tasked with devising sustainable ventures within the clothing and fashion sector, a domain responsible for a staggering 8% of global greenhouse gas emissions. These ventures were required to demonstrate a positive societal and environmental impact, aligning with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.
From an impressive pool of over 40,000 teams spanning 120 countries, Banofi emerged as a trailblazer in sustainable fashion innovation.
Maggie Boreham ’24 shared her exhilaration about the whirlwind journey in the Hult competition, highlighting the transformative impact it had on their team dynamics.
She anticipates that the winnings will empower them to expand operations, bolster sales, and continue research and development efforts. Promising conversations with notable brands have already been initiated, sparking anticipation for the future.
Isobel Campbell SOE ’23 underscored the collective effort required to address pressing environmental challenges. She found the diversity and caliber of participating teams inspiring, emphasizing that no single entity can tackle these issues in isolation.
Winning the $1 million Hult Prize marks a turning point in Banofi Leather’s mission to counteract the profound environmental repercussions of the leather industry.
This triumph follows Banofi’s previous accolade in June, when the startup clinched the top prize of $30,000 in the prestigious Wege Prize Global Competition.