14 March 2016 14:03:37 IST

Pune team wins national round of Global Student Entrepreneur Awards

(L-R) Preetham Kumar, Ankit Singh, Pratik Magar, Daniel Raj David, and Vijay Raj

Fizzible Tech to head to Bangkok for global finals and compete against 50 teams from 50 nations

The atmosphere was electric and the hall high on energy. Students, who double up as entrepreneurs in their spare time, took the stage to present and pitch their projects to a panel of investors and top entrepreneurs. They defended their projects fiercely, parrying the questions thrown at them with aplomb, from project funding and viability to market size. They talked the language of scale, size and funding.

In the end, Pune-based Fizzible Tech won the national final of the Global Student Entrepreneur Awards (GSEA) 2016 held in Chennai last weekend. Detect Technologies and Amruth Foods Pvt. Ltd. came second and third respectively.

Student entrepreneurs who got selected from the zone wise preliminary competitions presented their business model before V Shankar, Managing Director, CAMS, Ullas Kamath, Jyothy Laboratories and Gautam Jaggi, o3 Capital, who were the judging panel. Five teams were shortlisted for the finals in Chennai, three of them from Chennai.

Brian E McElduff, Ambassador of Ireland to India, gave away the prizes to the winners. “The technologically driven world we live in today is the result of some ground-breaking innovation. Start-ups by young minds, their enthusiasm and fresh thinking, is taking this forward to a whole new level,” said the Ambassador.

Fizzible, says Pratik Magar, who is from the Maharashtra Institue of Technology, Pune, develops indoor positioning technology. This works inside closed places such as in a mall or a mine, where GPS does not work. Fizzible has developed its own range of hardware and software to enable this, says Magar.

Entrepreneur Chandu Nair, who earlier moderated a panel discussion on entrepreneurship and funding with the three judges, said the teams were tied marks wise but the judges felt that Fizzible had a more global reach and was disruptive and unique. “Fizzible Tech’s research is primarily focused on how to extend the power of positioning technology into the indoor environment. While GPS tackles the issue of external location, there are challenges due to its accuracy limit of 10 metres in internal environments (for example in mines) or even for cases like autonomous (driverless) vehicles. There is a need for more precision than is not possible with GPS,” explained Nair.

Since this is a product with global applications and given the background of the team and its advisors, Nair said the judges thought it would be a fit example to showcase the new emerging technology that can put India on a global platform.

Fizzible received ₹75,000 in prize money and now gets to go to Bangkok for the international finals to be held in May where it will compete with 50 teams from 50 countries.

According to K Chandrasekhar, GESA Director, South Asia, “The back bone of every nation are its students, while entrepreneurs serve as a spark plug in the country's economic engine. The economic success of nations worldwide is the result of encouraging and rewarding entrepreneurial instinct. EO GSEA is a global competition for student entrepreneurs encouraging entrepreneurial instinct, identifying the next generation of idea makers, job creators and influencers.”

Piyush Bhandari, GSEA Co–Convener, Chennai said that the regional champion from India will compete with the world’s top student entrepreneurs who will present their business strategies in front of a global panel to win a prize package worth more than USD $40,000 that includes a $ 20,000 cash prize. The first runner-up will get $10,000 and second runner up, $5,000. The theme of the international finals will be 50:50 – 50 participants from 50 countries.

The Global Student Entrepreneur Awards (GSEA) is a global competition for undergraduate and graduate students who own and operate businesses. Nominees compete against their peers from around the world for the chance to win capital and in-kind prizes from sponsor organizations. Founded in 1998 by Saint Louis University, GSEA is now an Entrepreneurs’ Organisation (EO) programme.