Global problems – innovative global solutions

French eChallenge 2017

Winners of this year’s University of Adelaide Australian eChallenge France proved that the competition is a springboard for innovative problem-solving and tackling current real world problems.

The competition is not only an avenue for launching new businesses, it’s also an opportunity for tertiary students to develop global awareness and citizenship, which is a critical asset in today’s turbulent arena. It also encourages students to address global hot topics such as renewable energy and the environment.

Third place winners, Tafaray, for example, developed an electricity generator using solar power and the by-product of milled rice. Designed specifically for use in Third World countries, the system has the potential to impact the lives of thousands.

The Entrepreneurship, Commercialisation and Innovation Centre (ECIC) Director and PVC Entrepreneurship, Professor Noel Lindsay, notes that this year’s teams “identified ways in which we can improve our health and wellbeing, contribute to society and generally make our lives easier, more productive and meaningful”.

Over 30 teams from universities and business schools from Châlons-en-Champagne, Lyon, Nice, Paris, Strasbourg and Troye developed other simple but powerful ideas. Winners of the Microsoft prize, Healthy Mind, designed a 3D virtual reality environment to help control pain without drugs. Once again, the idea could be applied anywhere across the world and can be not only life-changing for the individual, but also have immeasurable effects on the economic cost of drugs and problematic chronic addiction.

The next eChallenge France will launch in November and this year, the ECIC will also be launching eChallenge Italy, in Milan and Turin. The ECIC is looking forward to tapping into this burgeoning European network and discovering what synergies can be developed between these two and other countries.

“We’ve been very impressed the calibre of the student teams. The success of the French event is something we hope to replicate in Italy later this year, and we will consider opportunities to further expand the competition into other European countries,” Professor Lindsay says.

Both programs will offer a total prize pool of more than AUD$90,000, including a trip to Microsoft’s head office in Seattle valued at $20,000.

This year, first place winners Valtat developed a smart watch band with enhanced capacity to carry out, for example, financial transactions and operate high-tech security systems. In second place, Waki designed an efficient way of cleaning make-up brushes that could revolutionise the beauty industry. Equal third place winners, Get Cozy, established a recycling process to save furnishings from hotels and corporate offices to decorate personal homes.

Competition dates and application details for the next Australian eChallenge will be announced on the eChallenge website: www.adelaide.edu.au/echallenge

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