Seventeen teams will present business concepts that could help create a better world in the final round of the Ideas to Serve Competition (I2S) on Friday, March 27 at Georgia Tech Scheller College of Business.
The Georgia Tech community is invited to the I2S Finals Poster Showcase (also open to the general public), from 6 to 8 p.m. in the atrium of the Scheller College (800 West Peachtree Street).
Guests will have the opportunity to learn about various student projects that address pressing social and environmental issues across various sectors such as education, healthcare, agriculture, economic development, and sustainable energy. Participants will do quick pitches and answer questions about their proposed solutions. Audience members can cast their vote for their favorite team to win the People’s Choice Award.
Most of the teams are interdisciplinary, representing a cross-section of majors at Tech, such as biomedical, environmental, and mechanical engineering students working together with computer science, business, and public policy students to develop well-rounded solutions to social and/or environmental issues.
“Georgia Tech students are uniquely positioned to become change makers,” says I2S organizer Dori Pap. “They are armed with the best education, are technologically savvy, and have an incredible support system on campus that constantly encourages and pushes them to use their creativity for problem-solving. Through I2S, we support and celebrate those students who are passionate about improving the human condition.”
Participating teams compete in two tracks: Ideas (early stage) and Advanced, depending upon their level of progress. Of 20 teams who started in the Ideas Track, 12 have advanced to the final round. There are five teams competing in the Advanced Track.
Organized by Georgia Tech’s Institute for Leadership and Entrepreneurship (ILE), the competition is open to all Georgia Tech students and recent alumni who “Dare to Care” through their product/service ideas or venture concepts.
Examples of competing teams this year include:
- SmoothJourney (Ideas Track), aims to develop a platform to help people with disabilities share and gain knowledge about the accessibility of every destination, including stores and tourist attractions.
- Vitali (Ideas Track), whose concept is for a wearable EKG that will provide heart patients and their relatives with constant monitoring and real-time updates.
- Vayando (Advanced Track), which offers an online booking platform that connects curious travelers with micro-entrepreneurs in emerging economies around the world, increasing their earning potential and ability to sustain themselves (for example, coffee farmers in Costa Rica or basket weavers in Rwanda).
- Wish for Wash (Advanced Track), which won Georgia Tech’s InVenture competition last year for its Safichoo toilet design and is now developing educational programs to provide a comprehensive solution to sanitation needs in the developing world.
“We hope that eventually these ideas will lead to sustainable organizations that are able to generate sufficient income flows to sustain their missions,” says Professor Terry Blum, director of ILE. “If the organizations are for-profit companies, the ideas should eventually be capable of providing returns for investors as well.”
Successful I2S alums include TOHL, a mobile infrastructure solution to delivering water in hard-to-reach areas; Atlanta Harvest, which addresses the lack of fresh produce in underserved urban areas while creating much-needed jobs at the same time; and The Pentorship Program, which works to combat prisoner recidivism by offering career development training and mentor-match to inmates.
This year the prizes to be awarded in the final round of I2S include the Ideas Track Winner ($5,000), Ideas Track Runner-Up ($2,500), Advanced Track Winner ($2,500), the People’s Choice Award ($1,000), Best Video ($500), and Best Poster ($500).
Sponsors of I2S include The Hal and John Smith Family Foundation, GrayGhost Ventures, Georgia Tech LEAD Program, Cecil B. Day Program for Business Ethics, Steven A. Denning Technology and Management Program, Ray C. Anderson Center for Sustainable Business, Georgia Tech Scheller College of Business, Speechworks, Tedd Munchak Chair in Entrepreneurship, and VentureLab.