How I Won My First Business Challenge In Australia
My team mate Kevin and I were recently invited to The Global Business Challenge, 2017 hosted by Queensland University of Technology, Australia from 5th to 9th November. It was a one-of-its-kind business challenge competition. This year the theme was “Novel Business Solutions for Clean Energy”. There were 2 rounds:
- Round 1: A virtual submission of a business proposal & executive summary.
- Final Round: Seven finalist teams from across the globe were going to be selected. Under an intensive 48 hour lock-in phase, we were required to develop a business case for a specified hypothetical project opportunity. This hypothetical addressed a set of constraints specific to each finalist team’s proposed solution. These constraints mimicked real-world issues, thus helping us bring the solutions closer to reality.
The final presentation was to be in front of a judging panel comprising of CEOs from across various industries, Government and finance sectors.
Kevin and I crossed paths at the MIT Waste Innovation Night in Boston. He had an idea that blended well with my area of interest and since then we have been working tirelessly in getting a validation for the same. Securing the 3rd place at this challenge has been a real motivation for us to continue working towards our goal.
What was our idea? Allow me to introduce to you: Takachar.
Takachar is a waste management technology project that turns trash into cash in rural emerging markets. Takachar uses a unique community-based partnership model and small-scale, decentralized technology to develop and implement low-cost waste-derived solid fuel projects in remote areas. We have demonstrated both our technology and community implementation model in the field at a commercial scale in Kenya.
After crossing 9 time zones, our bodies were thoroughly jet-lagged. Due to this reason, we decided to work in shifts during the 48 hour lock down period. So Kevin & I planned a work shift during the lockdown period. While Kevin was sleeping on the EST, I slept on the Australian time zone to optimize those 48 hours in the best possible way. During this period we were not even allowed to get out of our apartments- the organizers had equipped us with lots of food & caffeine, including the meals for those days.
Amongst all participants, we were the team with the least team number of team members(two of us), much to the surprise of everybody present there. But this was definitely an advantage for us. It helped us make good decisions faster in times of crisis.
Speaking about crisis, a big challenge was thrown at us at the 18th hour. The twist? The initial scenarios given to us were changed. We had to redesign a part of our proposal.
Undeterred, we were ready with a 55-page report and a 20 minutes slide deck!
Being my first presentation in front of such an elite panel of judges, I was definitely nervous. So, instead of visiting the zoo, Kevin and I worked on perfecting the pitch.
Securing the 3rd position and being awarded AUD 10,000, it was one of the best experiences of my life. There was an immense amount of learning and networking involved. Finalist teams were from Australia, Canada, Finland, India and USA, giving us the opportunity for a lot of cross-country exchange of knowledge in the clean energy space.
Adesh is a graduate student at Northeastern University,Boston pursuing Energy Systems. After completing an internship at Bizongo in India, he chose to fan his entrepreneurial spirit.He has a passion to solve tough problems in real life, and to give back to community he volunteers at various organizations on-campus (RISE, Energy System Society) and beyond (TiE Boston, Desai Foundation). He aspires to be a part of industries dealing in clean energy and bringing the technologies to emerging markets.
I would like to thank Kevin, for being such an amazing teammate. Thank you Vartika Gupta for helping me with the edits.