The FINANCIAL — Greenway Grameen Infra, a team of student entrepreneurs from India, has won the 8thannual Intel Global Challenge at UC Berkeley, a global business plan competition that encourages student entrepreneurs to tackle some of the world's most pressing issues and rewards innovative ideas that could make a positive impact on society.
The winning team of entrepreneurs created efficient, biomass-based cooking solutions. In India and elsewhere around the globe, indoor open fires and traditional mud stoves are still used for cooking by nearly 3 billion people, leading to negative impacts on the environment and economy. The team's flagship product, the Greenway Smart Stove, incorporates a unique air-flow generator that saves fuel consumption by up to 65 percent and reduces smoke output by 70 percent. Since it commercially launched in December 2011, Greenway Grameen Infra has sold more than 12,000 units. As Intel Corporation reported, the company plans to add two new stove designs and a waste heat-to-electricity converter to its product line.
"This year, we saw impressive innovations in fields including healthcare, mobile app development and energy conservation," said Shelly Esque, president of the Intel Foundation and global director of Intel's Corporate Affairs Group. "These student entrepreneurs from around the world have developed first-class business plans ranging from improved reliability for cancer diagnoses to the production of inexpensive, more efficient solar cells."
The Intel Foundation awarded $100,000 total in cash prizes. The grand prize-winning team received $50,000, and the three best-of-category winning teams each received $15,000. In addition, two prizes of $2,500 were awarded to the winning teams of a social media challenge and an audience favorite contest. Besides cash prizes, winning teams received invaluable mentoring and feedback from Silicon Valley's leading venture capitalists.
Innovations from the three best-of-category winners included industries ranging from healthcare to agriculture. Nanoly Bioscience of the United States developed a protective shield that stabilizes vaccines and eliminates the need for refrigeration, allowing vaccines to be shipped virtually anywhere. Sustainable Agriculture Solutions of Colombia created sustainable farming solutions, including a fertilizer that increases efficiency by 40 percent over traditional alternatives. Avetics of Singapore invented an autonomous mini-plane with a computerized control board that takes high-resolution photographs for aerial maps.
The competition, held at the Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley, drew 25 teams from 16 countries. These finalist teams were selected from more than 150,000 students from more than 50 countries who competed in 14 affiliate competitions. Founded in 2005, the Intel Global Challenge at UC Berkeley is a joint project of Intel and the UC Berkeley Lester Center for Entrepreneurship. The project is designed to motivate young entrepreneurs to develop innovative technologies that solve real-world challenges, build viable business models and move that technology out of university labs and into the market.