Greenway Grameen Infra, a team of student entrepreneurs from India, has won the 8th annual Intel Global Challenge at UC Berkeley, a global business plan competition that encourages student entrepreneurs to tackle some of the world's most pressing issues and rewards innovative ideas that could make a positive impact on society.
The Nadathur S Raghavan Centre for Entrepreneurial Learning (NSRCEL) at IIMB had mentored Greenway Grameen Infra (GGI), which won the first prize at the Next Big Idea 2012 and gained nomination for the Intel Global Challenge (IGC) at Berkeley. This is the first time in eight years that any team from India has won this prestigious award. GGI competed against entries from other countries including the United States, Russia, China, Brazil, Mexico, Columbia, Denmark, France, Malaysia, Singapore, Philippines, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Egypt, Tunisia and Jordan, to win this grand prize.
The winning team of entrepreneurs created efficient, biomass-based cooking solutions. In India and elsewhere around the globe, indoor open fires and traditional mud stoves are still used for cooking by nearly 3 billion people, leading to negative impacts on the environment and economy. The team's flagship product, the Greenway Smart Stove, incorporates a unique air-flow generator that saves fuel consumption by up to 65 percent and reduces smoke output by 70 percent. Since it commercially launched in December 2011, Greenway Grameen Infra has sold more than 12,000 units. The company plans to add two new stove designs and a waste heat-to-electricity converter to its product line.
The second team nominated by NSRCEL (Linksmart Technologies) for the IGC has built a security technology that won both praise for its innovativeness as well as interest from large global corporations looking to deploy their solution for their own logistics processes. This interest will take Linksmart from being an India oriented venture to a global venture very quickly.
GGI and Linksmart are great examples that epitomize the kind of entrepreneurship that NSRCEL supports - good, sound financially valuable businesses that address global needs. It is representative of the enormous creativity and energy of Young India, typified by the founders of GGI, Neha and Ankit; and the founders of Linksmart, Ashish and Shirish.
"This year, we saw impressive innovations in fields including healthcare, mobile app development and energy conservation," said Shelly Esque, president of the Intel Foundation and global director of Intel's Corporate Affairs Group. "These student entrepreneurs from around the world have developed first-class business plans ranging from improved reliability for cancer diagnoses to the production of inexpensive, more efficient solar cells."
The competition, held at the Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley, drew 25 teams from 16 countries. These finalist teams were selected from more than 150,000 students from more than 50 countries who competed in 14 affiliate competitions. Founded in 2005, the Intel Global Challenge at UC Berkeley is a joint project of Intel and the UC Berkeley Lester Center for Entrepreneurship. The project is designed to motivate young entrepreneurs to develop innovative technologies that solve real-world challenges, build viable business models and move that technology out of university labs and into the market.
NSRCEL has put together a strong selection process that helps pick potentially world-beating ideas from thousands from across the country. An exhaustive mentoring process helps the young ventures test their ideas in the real world of customers and learn how to present such ideas and ventures to a global community of customers, investors and potential partners. NSRCEL's incubation processes help these ventures grow and scale many-fold in relatively short periods.