On 8th April, 2023, Saturday, five student teams presented their novel ideas for period products and contraception services to the Co-founder of YourCycle, Shandré Kushor. Of the five teams, one team was named the winner and now its team members Ubuhle Nyati, Leena Muntasser, and Annie Hu are exploring the possibility of pursuing Research & Discovery for their product with the company, YourCycle, itself.
Nyati, Muntasser, and Hu were three of the 19 students hailing from more than 10 different countries who participated in the YourCycle Work Experience Program powered by the Crimson Careers Institute held from 11th March, 2023 to 8th April, 2023. The month-long remote professional experience invited students to learn professional skills alongside learning industry experts about medical innovation, research, ethics, and product development and marketing. The students were divided into teams where they worked together to design a new or improved period product or contraceptive and its market plan. The students were evaluated on their communication, initiative and proactivity, and professionalism throughout the program while also receiving hands-on support from their mentors to polish their product pitches.
Final pitches from the team were presented in an online session with Kushor where each team was given seven minutes to articulate their ideas and vision. Teams presented products and services that left Kushor very impressed, including a contraceptive vending machine, vaginal rings, prototypes for an app that facilitates online doctor’s consultations and health surveys. Nyati, Muntasser, and Hu’s presentation introduced the “The Ayuna Thread” which is a sanitary pad that can detect yeast infections. The Ayuna Thread uses a cotton that can detect Candida Albicans, the fungus active in yeast infections & urinary tract infections. When the sanitary pad detects fungus, it causes a chemical reaction causing the pad to change bright pink.
While reflecting on working with their team, Hu commented, “Two things that made our project so special to me was the freedom we were given when pursuing it; this led to us diving into a topic we were passionate about, as opposed to one we were assigned, and we knew this wasn’t a piece of graded school work so we did our research and writing for the sake of learning, and not for the sake of a numerical grade.”
The team is set to communicate with YourCyle representatives soon to discuss the possibility of working with the company to launch their product.