Gender stereotypes in the science, technology, and innovation fields are nothing new and remain particularly hard to shift. Yet efforts to address these stereotypes are more pertinent than ever, and females became more aware of that stereotypical image and they are trying harder to always prove that they are capable of innovation.
Among the females who proved that women in general and Egyptian females in particular, could innovate were the winning teams for the L’Oréal BrandStorm 2018 and 2019 competitions.
Each winning team consists of three members, with two girls and one boy. By chance, it was noted that the number of girls in the winning teams is double that of the number of boys, which proved that girls are not just equal to men in innovation but maybe even better.
The BrandStorm competition is considered as one of the world’s major competitions for students, as BrandStorm has won several awards in the Human Resources (HR) sector. The competition has attracted more than 154,000 participants from 60 countries in 26 years. Each year BrandStorm helps to recruit 150 to 200 profiles to the group’s entry-level programmes.
This year, L’Oréal Egypt organised a roundtable to announce the BrandStorm 2019 winning team for the fourth year in a row. The competition gathered a group of distinguished students from 24 top universities in Egypt. Participants competed at the country level to have the opportunity to represent Egypt at the international competition that will take place in Paris in May 2019.
The roundtable was attended by a group of diverse media representatives as well as L’Oréal Egypt’s top management headed by Hossam Soliman L’Oréal Egypt’s HR Director and L’Oréal Egypt’s Communication Manager, Nahla Mokhtar, in addition to the presence of the BrandStorm 2018 and 2019 winning teams where they presented their innovative projects and experience on both the country and international levels.
The BrandStorm competition aims to create young Egyptian cadres and qualify them for the labour market through giving university students the opportunity to unleash their creativity, and transform their innovative ideas into reality. L’Oréal Egypt is committed to providing the participants with the necessary support and guidance to develop their skills and proposed projects.
In this context, Soliman said, “I am proud of the quality of projects presented by the participants. Selecting one winning team doesn’t negate the fact that we have actually witnessed a number of innovative, dedicated, and committed students. The 2018 and 2019 teams represented live examples of the competences of the young promising Egyptian talents, and their capability of competing internationally. I am proud of their performance, which formulates a driving force for us as a company to continue to provide such sustainable empowerment to empower these enlightened students.”
Hossam explained to that every year the competition demands from the students a project in different fields, noting that in 2018 the challenge was to have a unique creative project for hair products while this year the challenge is for skin products.
Winning team of BrandStorm 2018
The Egyptian winning team in 2018, took the second palace globally for social responsibility while ranked 11th in the innovative competition on a global scale, the team included two girls and a boy, namely Ahmed Khaled, Alaa Fakher,and Yasmin Nassar, who all graduated from the Faculty of Pharmacy at the German University in Cairo.
They told Daily News Egypt that they learned of the competition through receiving an official email from L’Oréal in their university emails, and through L’Oréal’s Facebook page.
For her part, Nassar stated that when they heard about the competition they got excited and began to take the necessary steps to apply.
“We applied and registered and then we began to think about the idea. We needed to innovate a creative idea that could satisfy the distinguished L’Oréal name and company,” Nassar and Fakher said with a spark in their eyes.
“Consequently, we began to thoroughly research for an idea that would fit the competition requirements,” they recounted.
Regarding their idea, they stated that after conducting a lot of research, they discovered that the water used in Egypt is harmful to hair, so they innovated a device which provides water to the customer with the needed vitamins in certain concentrations, and with certain techniques so at the end the water which will be delivered to the customer will be in a perfect state, compensating any vitamin deficiency.
Meanwhile, they mentioned that the substances that they removed from the original water will be recycled and put into other beauty products.
Concerning the process of getting the idea, we presented it domestically to the L’Oréal jury committee, and then we were chosen as one of the 13 best teams among all the faculties of Egypt.
“Consequently, following this first filtration, L’Oréal gave us workshops, which taught us how to transform our idea in reality and to enter the market,” they disclosed.
“L’Oréal taught us to change our simple idea into a project on the ground, in addition to plenty of marketing skills,” the two female winners stated.
Later on, “We were chosen as the best team among all the applicants from Egypt, and subsequently we travelled to Paris to represent Egypt in the competition,” they said proudly.
At that period, “We were competing with students from over 60 countries around the world, so we were afraid of their various mentalities, and felt that they might be more creative than us,” Nassar and Fakher narrated sensitively.
“However, when we travelled, the L’Oréal HR team calmed us down as they were with us every step of the way, also we were rehearsing around them, and briefly they supported us a lot, therefore we became more confident that we could make it,” they said happily.
“During our trip to Paris, L’Oréal gave us other workshops at the L’Oréal company headquarters in Paris,” the girls continued.
They mentioned that after announcing the competition results, they began their own careers, as the L’Oréal company offered them a scholarship for three months and then recruited them.
Regarding the challenges that faced them, they stated that the biggest challenge was getting an idea that satisfied L’Oréal.
Egypt`s winning team for 2019
Furthermore, this year the girls are taking part in a team that consists of three members, one boy and two girls who are all students in the American University in Cairo, namely Salma Wafa, Menna Hassan, and Taymour Mohamed.
As previously mentioned, the challenge this year was innovating in the field of skin care products, hence the two girls told Daily News Egypt that their idea is considered a completion for a L’Oréal project which was launched as an application in which a system such as a mobile takes a photo of the face and then decides its facial skin problems.
They explained that the idea in brief is like a system which can allow the person to talk with their face through using nanotechnology which transmits facial information through the mobile which can then inform the customer their exact facial problems and what precisely they need to solve the facial problems– as if the face itself is talking.
“We looked forward to innovate an idea that is out of box, thus we talked and met with a lot of our professors in university. We also spoke with a lot of doctors, and we researched extensively in order to get the idea that will satisfy L’Oréal, as we hope to make a substantial impact,” they said.
Wafaa and Hassan affirmed that they are very excited to travel to Paris and for undergoing this experience, asking all Egyptians for their support.