Create and Sustain: Monash Entrepreneur Challenge by MEC

“Sustainability” and “Creativity” are terms that have gained traction amongst entrepreneurs recently due to the sudden realization that businesses tend to benefit from creative solutions to either corporate or real world challenges. To engage more Monashians to think critically in hatching sustainable businesses surrounding the 17 UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, Monash Entrepreneur Club held the Create & Sustain: Monash Entrepreneur Challenge on the 25th of August, 2018. The main aim of this challenge was to encourage soon-to-be entrepreneurs to present a business plan that is sustainable, creative, profit-making and economically stable. The five finalists for this challenge is Kuro, Orca, GoGood, Black n White and Kopi Semula.

On the day itself, gleeful participants registered themselves, as they were eager to present their business plans to the judges in hopes of nabbing RM3000 worth of prizes.. The challenge was judged by a panel of representatives from esteemed corporations such as General Electric (GE), World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), Teach For Malaysia, Cradle and Sunway Group. These corporations are known to be sustainability-oriented and experienced in developing sustainable business plans. After a short foreword by the current MEC’s vice president Jeremy Lim, the event was officially launched by the EiHub.

 

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It was interesting day, no doubt
Team Orca kicked off the challenge with a bang, as they presented their business plan. Orca identified a massive problem in food wastage amongst households. In order to curb this problem, they proposed to convert food wastage into reusable biogas and co-products such as cooking gas and fertilizers. Just by disposing food wastages in the Orca-managed wastage kiosks, the customers would be able to accumulate points that can be traded for something more useful, like free fertilizers or various coupons.

“Anybody here loves coffee?” asked a member from finalists Kopi Semula. A great number of hands were raised as Kopi Semula explained that they have pinpointed that there is no proper management of coffee wastage by major coffee corporations. Kopi Semula is determined to solve the problem concerning the disposal of used coffee grounds. Instead of disposing said coffee grounds, Kopi Semula proposed to make eco-friendly products such as mugs and saucers. From your basic Americano to your  Latte, Kopi Semula plans to make every cup of their customer’s coffee green again, hence the group name.

Next on the list of finalists was Team GoGood. Their main goal is to give back to society by providing Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) training to Small & Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs). They have identified that nearly 98% of SMEs in Malaysia lacked knowledge and affordable training on CSR. GoGood’s solution for this problem is to be the specialist in CSR events such as Food drives, skill workshops or educational field trips for the marginalized and the less-fortunate. They aim to enhance brand image and power of respective SMEs through these practices that not only improves the corporations involved financially, but also indirectly adding color to lives of many, thus encouraging SMEs to GoBetter.

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Attentive listeners watching over their competing team
Kuro entered the fray with their business plan with much confidence. The team of 5 men discussed the food wastage globally has been increasing significantly in recent years. To stop this trend from spiking through the roof, Kuro proposed a system where  consumers to order their food in advance for discounted prices from partnering restaurants. Imagine not having to wait to get your food on the table! Their sustainable goal is to turn excess food into empty stomachs.

The fifth and final finalist was Black n White, who aims to tackle the long amounts of time needed to do grocery shopping. Through their system on their website, consumers would be able to compare and purchase products from various retailers with one simple click. This will result in lesser time spent on grocery shopping physically, as the groceries would be on your doorstep with a discounted price. After all five teams have presented their business plan, it was time for the judges to decide on which plan is the most feasible and who the winner was.

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Everyone had a fun-filled day!

After long consideration and conversations between all 5 judges, the results were in. 2nd Runner Up went to Kopi Semula while 1st Runner Up was won by Orca. The winners of this challenge is none other than GoGood, as their business plan proved to be the most feasible and interesting in the eyes of the judges. After the prize giving ceremony, representative from GE gave an evaluation of all 5 teams and thanked the 5 teams for their efforts. “Try to fail as soon as possible, because you will learn everything faster by doing so” said the representative from GE. I think this advice not only applies to entrepreneurs, it can also be applied to any Average Joe alike. With all said and done, everyone involved in this challenge returned home with more epiphany on sustainable and creative ideas that could be improve the betterment of themselves and the people around them.

 

Article by Matthew Chin

Photos by Marium Imran

 

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