Sustainability Through Innovation: Meet the Global Student Challenge Winners

A safer environment for nightclubbers. A new and sustainable way to feed fish. These are the kernels of the ideas represented by the 2023 winners of the Babson Collaborative Global Student Challenge—a global contest that challenges undergraduate and graduate students to think of impactful business concepts and put them into action.

Annually, students from Babson Collaborative member schools are tasked with generating new business concepts addressing the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which serve as a blueprint for addressing critical global challenges, and to foster a more equitable and sustainable world.

The 2023 Global Student Challenge included 2,600 students from 25 schools across 18 countries, showcasing 730 projects. Winners had the opportunity to develop their ideas even further by attending Babson Build, a weeklong summer entrepreneurship bootcamp at Babson’s Wellesley campus.

In addition to attending Babson Build, each winner of the Global Student Challenge received $2,500, thanks to the sponsorship of Social Impact Patrons, Ramón Mendiola ’86, P’20 ’21 ’23 and Sage Business. With a shared commitment to the U.N. SDGs, patrons hope to inspire greater participation in the Student Challenge and help equip winners to take their concept to the next level. Runners-up also received cash prizes between $1,500 and $2,000. Meet the winners and their business concepts:

Undergraduate Winner: Strawire

Nightlife should be fun not dangerous. That’s the mission behind Strawire, a startup founded by students from EDEM Escuela de Empresarios in Valencia, Spain. Their aim is to use technology to detect drugs in drinks and prevent sexual harassment or rape.

The inspiration for this idea came from close to home, said Álvaro Tordera Amorós. He and his team members, Nicole Dziurman and Emmet Dunne, had friends in their inner circle who had experienced the danger of date rape drugs, but the concern goes beyond their friend groups, he said. “We (found) that this is a general problem, and a lot of interest in society to address it,” Amorós said.

“For us, it was a great pleasure to be at Babson. We got to meet a lot of experienced teachers,” he said. “We also got to know people from our age that are as curious as we are about entrepreneurship.”

Graduate Winner: CapiPro

On the graduate side, CapiPro took first place—with a fish-tastic idea for addressing waste in the fish farming industry and creating a sustainable protein source for the pet food market.

The winning graduate team from Nord University at Babson BUILD.

“The U.N.’s SDGs are important for the entire world, and they require the world’s attention,” said Samson Steindal Vonen, a member of the team of three. Alongside Bodø, Norway, Nord University peers Isabell Grønnslett and Ole Martin Flågan, he is enthusiastic about their venture.

“We want to contribute to solving the U.N. SDGs the best way we know how, and we believe that our startup, CapiPro, has potential to be an important part of the solution,” he said. The team’s biggest takeaway? “We shouldn’t let the obstacles stop us from pursuing our goals,” Grønnslett said.

Posted in Community, Entrepreneurial Leadership

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