AUC Student Team Pack Their “Toy Lab” All the Way to the Babson Collaborative Student Challenge 2019
The Toy Lab team members: Rana El Semary, Yomna Samy, Ahmed El Semary, mechanical engineering majors, Salma Morsy, actuarial science major, and Salma Ehab, double major in political science and anthropology, win the Local Babson Collaborative Student Challenge which took place on March 24 and prepare for the global challenge.
Developing an entrepreneurial society and cultivating a sustainable consciousness in future leaders and professionals is among the main duties of a responsible educational institution. With this in mind, engaging students within the Babson Collaborative Student Challenge has been both a rewarding and enlightening experience.
Five AUC student teams joined the race for the local champions of the Babson Collaborative local challenge, where participating collaborative universities held a local competition among their students and held live events where the student teams presented and pitched their idea to a panel of local judges. Teams were then evaluated, and the winning team from each university progressed to the final phase of the challenge.
In preparation for the competition, the School held a range of sessions including a roundtable discussion on February 25, to familiarize students with the topic of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG)’s and relate them to what’s taking place in practice and in the MENA region. This was followed by trainings by student organization “AUC Entrepreneur’s Society” and AUC Venture Lab coaches and mentors on how to develop their startups as well as pitch and present their ideas effectively.
“The local competition provided students from across all disciplines at AUC with a platform to engage in entrepreneurial thinking” reflects team faculty mentor, Nellie El Enany, adding “giving students the opportunity to connect their startup ideas to society and to be engaged with practitioners from a range of organizations is integral to their learning and to the development of their entrepreneurial outlook on life.”
To put their learning into practice, the teams presented their ideas in front of a panel in a mock final presentation and received constructive feedback to enhance their presentations. The journey culminated with final presentations on March 24 featuring judges from Innoventures, the World Health Organization, UNDP, and AUC Venture Lab.
“The hard work of the teams in creating their ventures was reflected on the outcome presented in the final panel”, commented Ahmed El-Bayoumi , Deeptech Lab Manager, AUC Venture Lab, adding, “throughout mentoring them to perfect their business idea, I have witnessed their passion and resilience to not only win the competition but persist to solve global problems.”
The winning team “The Toy Lab”, targets to produce skill-based, interactive and educational toys that is 100% Egyptian from materials to manufacturing and fully recyclable. The team aims to reduce greenhouse gases and energy and save on transportation through their lean local supply chain, additionally allowing them to maintain stringent quality control.
Rana El Semary, the Toy Lab member reflects: “It was a really challenging experience and still is. As a team we found it really interesting to create a project that leaves a social impact; we had to work on several twists, get creative with our ideas, and change a lot of things based on feedback. We are very glad we made it so far, and we hope to make it to the final step”.
Munaf Emam, Chief Operations Officer, Innoventures and one of the judges, echoed “It was very evident that the students dug deep in their efforts in developing their business initiatives and made sure that their idea could be translated into a viable business proposition. I was very impressed with the diversity of the initiatives and could see that most of them could be further implemented. Furthermore, I was very happy to see a high number of female students participating in the challenge- certainly making sure that the UN’s sustainable goal number 5, gender equality, was being addressed admirably.”
Entrepreneurship has always been at the heart of the School of Business, justifying its joining of The Babson Collaborative, which supports participating schools to increase their capacity and capability of educational entrepreneurship offerings through a well-rounded collaborative platform that allows for seamless knowledge sharing among its constituents and is aimed at supporting the member academic institutions achieve depth and breadth in entrepreneurship education. This supports the strategy of the School of Business, which has always sought and continues to seek to provide the market with the needed skills for continued growth moving forward in Egypt’s entrepreneurial ecosystem.
At the moment our winning team is preparing to join over 80 teams and 300 students globally for a seven-minute pitch video presentation that will be shared and assessed by six judges from Babson College. With the grand prize of a full scholarship to the Babson Build Program in Massachusetts, the experience intended to support students to think and act entrepreneurially and innovatively by means of Babson’s exceptional entrepreneurial thought and action methodology.