The Fowler Global Social Innovation Challenge takes place at the University of San Diego, California, from June 14 to 16.
A team of students of the Faculty of Engineering and Science of the Universidad de La Frontera (UFRO) participates from June 14 to 16 at the Fowler Global Social Innovation Challenge (GSIC) in San Diego, California, USA.
This international social venture pitch competition recognizes, resources and rewards student-led social ventures focused on sustainable change and brought about 900 teams of 35 universities from 17 different countries together during the last eight years.
In this year’s version, the participants from all over the world will compete for up to $50,000 in funding and other resources.
The team of UFRO students of the Faculty of Engineering and Science, called “Clever”, was one of the winners of the competition “Experimentando” (experimenting) UFRO 2018 and directly entered the competition after being selected one of the best projects of Jump Chile, which is an initiative promoted by the UC Anacleto Angelini Innovation Center and Sura. They are one of the two teams that represent Chile in the competition.
“Clever is a project that aims at reducing the huge amount of plastic waste in the environment and converting it into a new material, which is very similar to timber, but consisting of recycled plastic. The material has a lot of potential for being used in a lot of ways, but, initially, we want to focus on the construction industry,” Benjamin Pardo, a student in Civil Industrial Engineering with specialization in Computer Science at the UFRO, explained. He is one of the team members who will travel to the USA, together with Jose Ignacio Barrera, who studies Civil Mechanical Engineering at the UFRO and also is part of the initiative.
Which significance has the participation at the Fowler GSIC for you?
This experience will be absolutely different compared to what we have done so far, although the methodology and the process is very similar to the competitions in Chile. Our presentation in San Diego is a step out of our comfort zone and, without a doubt, this event will bring us new experiences and essential contacts as an entrepreneur, besides, we will get to know the projects other students are working on in different places of the world.
What do you expect from your participation in this international event? If you win, what do you want to accomplish with this project?
We are very excited to go and hope to give a good presentation. We are getting prepared with the help of a large team, as well as with other institutions that give us feedback in order to improve. If we win, we will try to find the best way to distribute the budget, especially regarding prototyping and technical validation. Besides, it is a good chance to disseminate the project, as well as the cause behind it.
What kind of knowledge can an event like this deliver on a personal and professional level?
This event will allow us to get to know another culture, to acquire new and more knowledge about entrepreneurship, as well as to use our English language skills, what is fundamental for today’s professionals.
Written by: Mauricio Antivil
Macro Faculty of Engineering