EO Global Student Entrepreneur Awards (GSEA): China Nationals 2018/2019
The Global Student Entrepreneur Awards (GSEA) is an international competition that aims to celebrate young innovators who have their own businesses while simultaneously juggling a full-time school schedule. University students from all over the world apply to compete in this prestigious competition with hopes to make it to the Global Finals, which take place in major cities all over the world. GSEA was started by the Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO), a global peer-to-peer network for successful entrepreneurs. Venture had the opportunity to bring the GSEAs to Beijing for the first time ever, as well as organise the national China competition.
From a list of 19 students, we chose the 4 entrepreneurs that we thought had the most innovative, unique, and impactful businesses. These were our finalists:
Gabriel Dolabella | Brazil | Renmin University
Gabriel Dolabella, 23, is a Brazilian law student who believes education is the only true way to tackle inequality and bring opportunities to everyone around the world. Moreover, he believes that educating our kids needs to be a moral commitment that we shall never relativise. Motivated by these beliefs and well aware of young people’s motivation to participate in the process of democratising access to education and civic participation in Brazil, Gabriel co-founded his NGO. Movimento Mapa Educação fights for a quality education in Brazil, making the youth the leading figure in this process of change.
Hendi | Indonesia | University of International Business and Economics
Midi Milk is a beverage company that uses cow’s milk as the main ingredient. The company’s mantra, “Fresh, exclusive and rich in nutrition” is the heart and soul of the business. Hendi started the business with merely USD$150 back when he was just 20 years old and poor sales almost led him to bankruptcy. Lacking in the right business skills and on the brink of failure, Hendi did not allow these hurdles to get in the way of his dream. Aware of his mistakes, Hendi used these shortcomings as the building blocks for progress. With consistency as his key formula, Hendi weathered the storm and reached his goal. After 2 years, Midi Milk has successfully opened a total of 10 booths across the city of Bogor, Indonesia with sales of more than 10,000 cups a month.
Jonathan Bakebwa | Uganda | Beijing Institute of Technology
Jonathan Bakebwa, a 22-year-old from Uganda, is majoring in Computer Science at the Beijing Institute of Technology. Jonathan is passionate about using technology to solve challenges that the world faces today. He is a multi-talented engineer with a cross-industry repertoire in creative design, software development, entrepreneurship and agriculture in East Africa and China. Jonathan is the Head of Design and a front-end developer at Akkadu, a software Startup based in Beijing that combines the best of human interpretation and AI to enable the world to engage in a common language by providing remote simultaneous interpretation and content streaming. In his free time, Jonathan plays the guitar, plays chess online and reads up on technology today while petting his cat.
Weiyi Qiu | China | Tsinghua University
Weiyi is the cofounder of PlanitWorld, a social startup that aims to accelerate the recycling speed in China. As a kid, Weiyi found that accumulated recyclables such as newspapers and plastic bottles in her home were often sold to scavengers. As she grew up and moved to Beijing, a mega city, Weiyi realized that the amount of trash is growing significantly, yet recyclable collectors are fading away and becoming disconnected with their communities. PlanitWorld aims to provide a smart solution on WeChat that empowers them with the technology and tools to find more well-sorted recyclables, thus contributing to the circular economy.
After selecting our four finalists, we organised an orientation for the students in order to encourage them to start thinking about their pitches and preparations for the GSEA China National competition. The orientation took the form of a “speed-dating” event, where students had 5 minutes to meet with 5 different EO members to get advice regarding their businesses and pitches. This event not only had an impact on the students, but also the EO members, who were inspired by how motivated the young entrepreneurs were.
Learning about the core values of the EO community by being invited to think about how they are applicable to my own NGO took me on a rich journey of reflection with vibrant members of the entrepreneurship community of Beijing. I’m very grateful for the opportunity and humbled to find myself in the middle of four other young entrepreneurs working so hard to change our world for the better.
– Gabriel Dolabella, EO GSEA Competitor
The GSEA China National competition took place in December 2018 at Tsinghua SEM X-elerator, an incubator space for start ups located in the university district of Beijing. Students were given 8 minutes to pitch their business to a panel of 9 judges. The judges came from various backgrounds and industries, ranging from multinational corporations to tech startups. They gave incredible feedback and asked thought-provoking questions. In the end, Jonathan Bakebwa, a Ugandan student at the Beijing Institute of Technology, won first place and a free trip to Macau where he will compete in the Global Finals against 56 other student entrepreneurs from around the world!
EO provided us a unique opportunity to look back on our entrepreneurial journey and really think about what has brought us to who we are today. Even though we didn’t win at last, we were proud to share our journey with some of the most brilliant entrepreneurs in Beijing at the first-ever Global Student Entrepreneurs Award in China.
– Weiyi Qiu, EO GSEA Competitor