13 July 2016
Global Entrepreneurship Summit 2016 offers boost to promising young entrepreneurs
US President Barack Obama says that entrepreneurship is the engine of growth. Speaking last month at the Global Entrepreneurship Summit 2016 in the US, the President said: "That ability to turn an idea into reality - a new venture, a small business - that creates good-paying jobs; that puts rising economies on the path to prosperity, and empowers people to come together and tackle our most pressing global problems, from climate change to poverty.
"When people can start their own businesses, it helps individuals and families succeed. It can make whole communities more prosperous and more secure. It offers a positive path for young people seeking the chance to make something of themselves, and can empower people who have previously been locked out of the existing social order -- women and minorities, others who aren't part of the 'old boys' network -- give them a chance to contribute and to lead. And it can create a culture where innovation and creativity are valued -- where we don't just look at the way things have always been, but rather we say, how could things be? Why not? Let’s make something new."
Obama added that when more than half the world is under age 30, it becomes crucial to empower young people globally with the tools they need to start new ventures, and to create the jobs of the 21st century. "As I travel around the world, one of the extraordinary things that I have the opportunity to do is to meet young people in every region and to see the problem-solving and the energy and optimism that they’re bringing to everything from how to generate electricity in environmentally sound ways in remote places that are off the grid right now, to how do you employ women in remote areas who all too often have been locked out of opportunity. You just see enormous creativity waiting to be tapped," he said.
"And part of our job, part of this summit’s job is to make sure that we're putting more tools, more resources into the hands of these folks who are changing the world, and making sure that all of you know each other so you can share best practices and ideas, and spread the word."
In keeping with the spirit of empowerment the Global Innovation through Science and Technology (GIST) Tech-I Pitch Competition Finals took place at GES and awarded US$70,000 in cash and additional prizes to 29 science and technology entrepreneurs representing 23 countries and territories, chosen from over 1,000 applications submitted by science and technology entrepreneurs in 135 emerging economies.
Winners of the 2016 Tech-I Competition from Asia Pacific and the Middle East included:
Startup Stage: 1st place, winning US$15,000
Hoang Dao, Monkey Junior, Vietnam. Monkey Junior is an interactive application that teaches children from a few months old to six years to read using proven pedagogical methods. It is currently available in multiple languages, and is currently the highest ranked language literacy app in the Android app store and Google Play.
Startup Stage: 2nd place, winning US$7,500
Yap Chee Wei, HiGi Energy, Malaysia. HiGi Energy converts invasive water hyacinth and agricultural waste into an environmentally friendly, smoke-free cooking fuel.
Startup Stage: 3rd place, winning US$3,000
Muhammad Waqas, WonderTree, Pakistan. WonderTree produces interactive augmented reality educational games for children with cognitive or motor disabilities.
Startup Stage: Honorable Mention, winning US$2,000
Md. Samid Razzak, 10 Minute School, Bangladesh. Ten Minute School is an online platform that offers educational tools that is tailored to Bangladesh’s educational system.
Idea Stage: 1st place, winning US$15,000
Samina Sarwat, Astha Purifier, Bangladesh. The Astha Purifier filter tackles arsenic contamination of drinking water using inexpensive and readily available rice husks. Samina was also named
Outstanding Female Entrepreneur, winning US$5,000.
Idea Stage: 2nd place, winning US$7,500
Maher Maymoun, Solar PiezoClean, Jordan. Solar PiezoClean is a waterless, automated dust-cleaning technology for solar panels. Maher also won the People's Choice award for the Idea Stage, worth a further US$2,000, and the Science and Technology Prize, US$3,000.
Idea Stage: 3rd place, winning US$3,000
Layth Hamad, Clev-G, Jordan. Clev-G is a smart device for LPG cylinders that automates gas tracking and refilling.
Alex Foo, co-owner of Starteur, a psychometric profiling tool targeted at entrepreneurs, attended GES 2016 under the sponsorship of Shopee, Garena’s e-commerce platform, in keeping with its corporate philosophy to develop the next generation of budding entrepreneurs. In a Shopee University session, he spoke to Shopee entrepreneurs and media about his experience.
"When you meet other people who are five steps ahead of you, you question how they go about it," he said. "When you have these conversations, you grow much faster, you shorten your learning curve."
Read the WorkSmart Asia blog post about Foo's takeaways from GES 2016