BERKELEY, USA: Forward, a team of student entrepreneurs from China, has won the 7th annual Intel Global Challenge at UC Berkeley (formerly the Intel+UC Berkeley Technology Entrepreneurship Challenge), for creating Gaitu, a one-stop image processing platform that matches Chinese consumers with designers who add special effects, provide image-sharing services and turn edited photos into art or merchandise.
The Intel Global Challenge at UC Berkeley is a global business plan competition that encourages student entrepreneurs and rewards innovative ideas that have the potential to have a positive impact on society. The Intel Foundation will award a total of $100,000 in cash prizes, $50,000 of which went to Forward.
Second place and $20,000 was awarded to Maxygen-mobile DNA of Russia for inventing a low-cost, portable DNA test solution that can be used at the point of care to quickly identify thousands of infectious diseases, genetic predispositions and hereditary conditions. The $10,000 third-place prize went to NanoDiagX of Egypt, which used gold nanoparticles to develop a virus test that can detect Hepatitis C in less than an hour, and at one-tenth the cost of current commercial tests.
“Intel has a strong commitment to fostering student innovation around the globe,” said Shelly Esque, president of the Intel Foundation and VP in Intel’s Legal and Corporate Affairs group. “Through our education programs, we’ve seen firsthand how empowering entrepreneurs positively impacts individuals, communities and economies. The Intel Global Challenge at UC Berkeley helps students develop lifelong innovation skills to identify problems and develop solutions they will use throughout their careers.”
The competition, held at the Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley, drew 28 teams from more than 20 countries. 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.
This year, the finalist teams presented business plans that reflect groundbreaking work in such fields as healthcare, technology, energy conservation and disaster management. These plans included ultraviolet radiation detection, a coconut-based packaging alternative, and an advanced fire protection and detection system. Representatives of more than 12 leading venture capital firms from the San Francisco Bay Area served as judges and provided valuable feedback to the teams.
In addition, three special awards, worth $5,000 each, were presented to Intel Global Challenge teams earlier this week. The Social Innovation Award went to NextDrop of Berkeley, Calif., for its water management solution that helps people in emerging markets better predict water availability in communities. aQuainnova of Thailand won the Emerging Impact Award for the team’s Genovex business tool, which can provide early detection of viral diseases in shrimp.
The Young Innovator Award was given to the entrepreneurs from team BUCKY’o’Zun of Denmark for their inexpensive chemical compound that when added to sun lotions, anti-aging creams, paints, among other products, provides 99.99 percent protection against all forms of UV radiation.