Announcing the Winners of the VT KnowledgeWorks Global Student Entrepreneurship Challenge

The Sixth Annual VT KnowledgeWorks Global Partnership Week held on August 16-22, 2015, provided a unique opportunity for student teams and faculty from all over the world a chance to collaborate and initiate their personal global networks through learning, socialization, and friendly competition in Blacksburg and Roanoke, Virginia. During this week-long celebration of entrepreneurship, student teams from Australia, Austria, Belgium, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Egypt, England, France, Italy, Mexico, Switzerland, and Thailand competed in the Global Student Entrepreneurship Challenge for a $25,000 grand prize and the VT KnowledgeWorks Global Challenge Trophy. Team Calbico from Virginia Tech, Virginia, USA, earned a spot in the Challenge; but team members Ben Newman and Jeremy Boone both were called to active military duty in August. Our best wishes go out to Ben and Jeremy in their service to our nation and the world.

The grand prize of $25,000 was awarded to Team Visionear of King Mongkut’s University of Technology Thonburi (KMUTT), Bangkok, Thailand, which included Nuntipat Narkthong, Natthaphat Laoharawee, Budsapanee Pongsiriyaporn, and Gaywalee Laimloha. Their prize package included the $15,000 Plastics One Advanced Manufacturing Award for the most outstanding tangible product. In addition to that, they were awarded another $10,000, and as a permanent tribute to their success, their name and university will be etched into the base of the Global Challenge Trophy, which will reside at VT KnowledgeWorks in the Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center. Their winning concept was a wearable device designed to improve the quality of life for those who are visually impaired. Visionear combines product’s barcode reader, banknote detector, color detector, light detector and crowd-sourced information reader in a single, comprehensive device that can be used offline without an Internet connection or a smart phone.

Team Visionear, winner of 2015 Global Partnership Week Grand PrizeTeam Visionear, King Mongkut’s University of Technology Thonburi (KMUTT), Thailand, Grand Prize Winner ($10,000) and Winner of the Plastics One Advanced Manufacturing Award ($15,000) – $25,000
Pictured left to right: Tiranee Achalakul of KMUTT, with Natthaphat Laoharawee, Nuntipat Narkthong, Budsapanee Pongsiriyaporn, and Sandy Ferrell of Plastics One Inc.

The $15,000 VT KnowledgeWorks Information Technology Award for the most outstanding intangible product or service went to Team Animus of Universidad del Norte, Barranquilla, Colombia, represented by Alfonso Quijano Jesurum and Jose Gómez Castro. Animus Ingeniería is a technology-based company with expertise in video analytics and telemetry that combines face recognition, automatic vehicle location, and inventory control technology that helps companies in Latin America affected by highway banditry or merchandise theft in vehicles transporting goods over land. They provide tools to increase awareness by enhancing how companies respond to unwanted events, allowing them to provide solutions for these problems in real time.

Team Animus2Team Animus, Universidad del Norte, Colombia, Winner of the VT KnowledgeWorks Information Technology Award – $15,000
Pictured left to right: Alfonso Andrés Quijano Jesurum, Jose Miguel Gómez Castro, and President of the VT Corporate Research Center, Dr. Joe Meredith

The People’s Choice award of $5,000, sponsored by Virginia Tech’s Outreach and International Affairs, was selected by vote of the event attendees at the Global Student Entrepreneurship Challenge. The People’s Choice was awarded to Team EntoLog of ZHAW Zurich University of Applied Sciences, Zurich, Switzerland whose business concept aims to help tackle the growing global challenge of producing nutritious protein-rich foods using an innovative technology that enables the extraction of proteins and other valuable nutritional products from insects. Meinrad Koch, Stefan Klettenhammer, and Philippe Geiger presented the concept.

Team EntoLogTeam EntoLog, ZHAW Zurich University of Applied Sciences, Switzerland, Winner of the People’s Choice Award – $5,000
Pictured left to right: Dr. Benjamin Graziano of ZHAW Zurich University of Applied Sciences, with Philippe Geiger, Stefan Klettenhammer, Meinrad Koch, and President of the VT Corporate Research Center, Dr. Joe Meredith

The competition finals at The Inn at Virginia Tech and Skelton Conference Center on August 20, 2015, were part of a week-long celebration of student entrepreneurship and students’ important contributions to the global economy. The day concluded with an awards banquet and flag presentation ceremony at The Inn at Virginia Tech and Skelton Conference Center.

During the rest of their visit to Virginia, international teams remained in Blacksburg, housed by local families. They spent interactive time with successful technology companies and enjoyed fellowship with Virginia Tech students. Some of the activities included tours of the Virginia Tech campus, Lane Stadium, and the Moss Arts Center; souvenir shopping experiences in Roanoke and Blacksburg; and festive meals throughout the entire week. The week concluded with a regional audience attending the Tastes and Sounds of the Valleys Reception at The Hotel Roanoke on August 21, 2015, where winning teams were honored and all participants of the Global Partnership Week were recognized.

To learn more about the VT KnowledgeWorks Global Student Entrepreneurship Challenge, visit our website at www.vtkwglobal.com. To view a list of all participating University Partners from around the world, go to http://www.vtkwglobal.com/2015/partners.

These generous sponsors make this very special week of education, competition, relaxation, and relationship-building possible: Automation Creations, Inc., BAE Systems, BB&T, The Branch Group, Inc., Brown, Edwards & Company, LLP, CIT GAP Funds, City of Roanoke, Fox 21/27, G.J. Hopkins, Inc., Interactive Achievement, Inc., Meridium, Montgomery County, Virginia Economic Development Department, National Bank, New River Valley Intellectual Property Law, Plastics One Inc., Rackspace, Shentel, SimulTV, SunTrust Bank , TechLab, Third Security, Town of Blacksburg, Town of Christiansburg, Union Bank & Trust, UXB International, Inc., Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center, Virginia Tech’s Outreach and International Affairs, VPT, Inc, Wordsprint.

For a complete list of other contributors of the VT KnowledgeWorks Global Partnership Week, please visit our website at http://www.vtkwglobal.com/2015/contributors.

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VT KnowledgeWorks

VT KnowledgeWorks encourages and enables creative entrepreneurship world-wide, through innovative curriculum, local business resource centers, and a global network of cooperating regions, all focused on three essential contributors to success: clear understanding of fundamental business principles; access to timely, relevant information; and meaningful personal and corporate relationships. It is a subsidiary of the Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center, supported by the continuing confidence and enthusiasm of its clients, sponsors and friends, both corporate and individual. Its world headquarters is in Blacksburg, Virginia, USA.

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