Entrepreneur

Does your startup do good? Intel competition rewards social entrepreneurship

It’s not nearly often enough that we hear about startup ideas that address global hunger, fuel inefficiency, or support the deaf and blind.

This week, Intel threw an event to do just that — to uncover these ideas from research labs, and provide them with funds for launch in the global market. This is the eighth time that the computing device maker has hosted the global business plan competition. This year, it was held at the Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley, and the finalists received $100,000.

The winner?

Greenway Grameen Infra (GGI), a team from India that produces efficient, biomass-based cooking solutions to replace indoor open fires and traditional mud stoves.

The flagship product is the Greenway Smart Stove, which incorporates a unique air-flow generator to provide clean and efficient combustion, saving up to 65 percent of fuel and resulting in a 70 percent reduction in smoke. The team piloted the stove in India; sales topped 12,000 units through rural retail outlets. The team received $50,000 from Intel’s Foundation.

“The Intel Global Challenge inspires and rewards great entrepreneurs who bring the best science and technology innovations from universities around the world to market for the benefit of us all,” said Andre Marquis, executive director, Lester Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation at UC Berkeley. Marquis said it has bolstered the school’s efforts to build a network of entrepreneurs around the world.

The runners up include Dreambender, an Indonesia-based startup that has developed an innovative sign language system; it uses Microsoft’s Kinect as a motion sensor, enabling users to practice gestures based on video examples until they have mastered them. ISkyTracker, a Russian technology, enables people to connect to the Internet anywhere. Its system provides automatic searches for telecommunication satellites.

Read more about the recent Tech Laureate awards (another recent competition to reward “tech for good” ideas) here.

Top image courtesy of Alexander Kirch, Shutterstock


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