Disrupt-IT Challenge elevates young techpreneurs
By Digital News Asia January 30, 2018
- Over 100 submissions from foundation, degree, postgraduate students from 26 institutions
- A total of RM40,000 in cash prizes were awarded to the winners
WINNERS of the Disrupt-IT Challenge, a competition sponsored by Prestariang Bhd and supported by Malaysian Global Innovation & Creativity Centre (MaGIC), were announced at the MaGIC headquarters in Cyberjaya.
The competition was jointly organised by five Malaysian universities – University Malaysia of Computer Science & Engineering (UNIMY), Multimedia University (MMU), Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM), Taylor’s University, and Universiti Sultan Zainal Abidin (UniSZA).
Launched on Oct 20, 2017, the Disrupt-IT Challenge aimed to facilitate greater entrepreneurs in IT or techpreneurs in proposing a tech-based “disruptiveness” project that can support or enable increased affordability, sustainability and innovativeness among industries and communities alike.
The competition was warmly received with more than 100 submissions from foundation, degree and postgraduate students from 26 institutions.
Dr Abu Hasan Ismail, CEO of Prestariang and founder of the Disrupt-IT Challenge, said that “My vision for the competition was to continue to stimulate the next generation to think beyond academics and to bring change that can impact society at large by using technology to make lives better.
“This is the first Disrupt-IT Challenge and hopefully, with the second installation and so forth, more students will get a better sense of the mission, which is to find solutions to problems.
“Also, through the competition, I hope to see students from different fields – business, medical, technology and communication – come together and work as a team to elevate lives through innovation and disruptive technology.”
Ten finalists were selected. However, one team withdrew; hence the nine remaining teams competed at the finals. These finalists were represented by University Malaysia of Computer Science & Engineering (UNIMY), MMU, UniSZA, University Malaya (UM), Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman (UTAR), Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM), Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia (USIM), International Medical University (IMU) and Asia Pacific University (APU). Some teams had members from different institutions.
The finalist teams were – in no particular order – CHLORING (UTM), SMART (UniSZA), Le Papillon (UNIMY & USIM), iSPARKS (MMU), FoodNat (UTAR), Green Dream (UniSZA), ComePung App (MMU), Readpublic (UM, IMU, & APU) and TutorTags (MMU).
The finalists were judged by a panel comprised of senior educators, industrialists and practitioners.
The submissions were evaluated based on a combination of the respective proposal’s innovativeness and “disruptiveness”, commercial viability, as well as its impact on the market, society and environment.
A total of RM40,000 in cash prizes were awarded to the winners.
The first prize worth RM15,000 was bagged by team Green Dream. Their project “In-Situ Micro Algae Bio-engineered Harvester”, also seized the Best Business Model award.
The enthusiastic team Green Dream stated, “We will use the money to produce another variant of the product so that we can capture an additional 5% market share in the fish breeding segment.”
Aside from bagging the second prize worth RM10,000, team Readpublic (pic, above) also grabbed the Best Pitch Award and Best Exhibition Booth through their one-stop platform for book price comparison and used books marketplace.
The third prize worth RM5,000 went to team iSPARKS (pic, right), who employed a Deep Learning algorithm in their “Integrated Outdoor Smart Parking System”.
Finally, team CHLORING won the Best Creative Idea through a smart wearable device that monitors health and automatically informs family members in the event of an emergency.
In addition to the monetary prize, the finalists get the opportunity to develop a continued relationship with industry professionals who will serve as mentors and advise the teams in furthering their projects in the future.
UNIMY Vice Chancellor and organising chairman of the competition Prof Dr Khairuddin Ab Hamid stated that, “The first challenge has seen a good take up. Moving from hackathon, Disrupt-IT Challenge is a platform for students of multidiscipline to table their ideas with commercialisation element. Our mentors from MaGIC and others have made this initiative a plausible one. I am looking forward to the next one.”
Aditya Tuli, executive director of MaGIC and chief judge of this competition advised young techpreneurs to be persistent in their pursuit of success and consistent in getting feedback from customers. He also reminded future techpreneurs to place more focus on the business viability of their products.
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