The Fifth Annual VT KnowledgeWorks Global Partnership Week held on August 17-23, 2014, provided a unique opportunity for student teams and faculty from all over the world 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, Canada, Chile, Ecuador, Egypt, England, France, Italy, Mexico, and the United States competed in the Global Student Business Concept Challenge for a $25,000 grand prize and the VT KnowledgeWorks Global Challenge Trophy.
The grand prize went to Julia Wache, Galena Kostoska, Alberto Parrella, and Leonardo Stenico of Team feelSpace, representing the University of Trento, Italy. Their winning concept provides a navigation device for blind people. It is a belt that has vibrating units around the waist, which points to a selected goal – either a GPS coordinate or north, and vibrates to indicate the way. This is especially useful for blind and visually impaired people who need their hands and ears free to fully perceive their environment when navigating. As a permanent tribute to their outstanding effort, 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.
The second place prize of $5,000 was awarded to Team Santé West representing the University of British Columbia, in Vancouver, Canada. Cam Stuart of Santé West presented this concept, which aims to bring the proven science of partial weight bearing to a personal, convenient device, helping the user recover from knee and lower leg injuries in less time with better functional outcomes.
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 Business Concept Challenge. The People’s Choice was awarded to Team DD-MOff from Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, in Santiago, Chile, whose business concept was a natural product designed to be applied on any object that was in contact with Didymo, a highly invasive algae spreading in several rivers and lakes around the world. The product kills the algae effectively and reduces the chance of dissemination to new environments, while not affecting other ecosystems. Andrea Carolina Mohr Beckdorf, Trinidad Schlotterbeck Suárez, and Alison Kareen Scheuch González presented the concept.
The competition finals at The Hotel Roanoke and Conference Center on August 21, 2014, were part of a week-long celebration of student entrepreneurship and students’ important contributions to the global economy. Bob Grebe and Tara Wheeler, co-anchors of the Fox 21/27 Morning News in Roanoke, were the Masters of Ceremonies of the Global Student Business Concept Challenge. Also at The Hotel Roanoke, a regional audience welcomed the global attendees at the Tastes and Sounds of the Valleys Reception highlighting unique food and music of the New River and Roanoke Valleys on August 20, 2014.
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 of the German Club, Graduate School, and Entrepreneur Club. Some of the activities included tours of the Virginia Tech campus, Lane Stadium, and the Moss Arts Center, souvenir shopping experiences in Blacksburg and Roanoke, and a hike in the Cascades. Festive meals highlighted the entire week, including the awards banquet and flag presentation ceremony at The Inn at Virginia Tech.
To learn more about the VT KnowledgeWorks Global Student Business Concept Challenge, visit our website at www.vtkwglobal.com.
To view a list of all participating University Partners from around the world, go to www.vtkwglobal.com/partners2014.
Thanks to these Contributing Sponsors!
All of this is made possible thanks to the generous Global Partnership Event Sponsors, including Allegheny Logistics Group, Automation Creations, Inc., BAE Systems, Bloomfield Partners, LLC, The Branch Group, Inc., Brown, Edwards & Company, City of Roanoke, Fox 21/27, G.J. Hopkins, Inc., Hodges, Jones & Mabry, P.C., Hutchison Law Group, Interactive Achievement, Inc., Latimer Intellectual Property Law, LLC, Meridium, Montgomery County, Virginia Economic Development Department, New River Valley Intellectual Property Law, Phoenix Packaging Operations, Rackspace, Shentel, SunTrust Bank , TechLab, Third Security, Town of Blacksburg, Town of Christiansburg, Union First Market Bank, Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center, Virginia Tech 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://vtkwglobal.com/other_contributors2014.
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 are in Blacksburg, Virginia, USA.