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US-Aus international students win GBC

A solar energy collection system which borrows the mobility and portability of a petrol generator has taken out the top prize and the majority of industry grants at the recent Global Business Challenge in Brisbane, Australia.

A team of MBA students from the US and Australia have taken out top prize at the recent GBC. Photo: GBCA team of MBA students from the US and Australia have taken out top prize at the recent GBC. Photo: GBC

"This competition gave our students the opportunity to build international linkages and establish relationships with other entrepreneurs in their field"

Smart Blox, a concept developed by a team of MBA students from the University of Arizona and Queensland University of Technology, incorporates do-it-yourself elements to deliver an affordable energy source for residential properties.

“The [GBC] is a first of its type competition in the world that has now grown to be the preeminent event of its type globally”

With up to $275,000 in funding available to further develop their concept, Smart Blox was a clear favourite among the judges, taking home $250,000.

QUT director of industry projects Peter Beven, who created the GBC, congratulated the winners and said the purpose of the competition was to encourage students around the world to collaborate and develop solutions to global concerns.

“The [GBC] is a first of its type competition in the world that has now grown to be the preeminent event of its type globally,” he said.

“Since 2014 the GBC has grown to the extent that this year saw 98 teams representing universities from 14 countries compete.”

Run in collaboration between Brisbane’s three major universities – The University of Queensland, Griffith University and QUT – the challenge sees student teams pitch their conceptual business solution, with winners flown to Brisbane for a 48-hour lock-in round where the develop a business case for a hypothetical project opportunity.

“We place a high priority on experiential learning for our entrepreneurship students… [and] the format for the event is unique and challenges the student-teams in a way that parallels the real-world environment entrepreneurs starting a new venture will encounter,” Lou Bifano, director of entrepreneurship studies at Auburn University, told The PIE.

“In addition to the learning experience, this competition gave our students the opportunity to build international linkages and establish relationships with other entrepreneurs in their field that would not have been possible if they had not participated in the Global Business Challenge.”

The 2018 GBC will focus on Smart Cities.

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