PANKA INVENTIONS WINS HULT PRIZE AT YACHAY TECH 2022
The event for the Finals of the 6th edition of the Hult Prize at Yachay Tech Competition took place at the facilities of the Complejo Fábrica Imbabura, in Antonio Ante. The event was attended by prominent professors, researchers and entrepreneurs as members of the jury in charge of choosing the winning team from among the seven finalists to officially represent Ecuador and Yachay Tech University in the regional Hult Prize Foundation competition.
Hult Prize is a competition held annually worldwide in different countries and it is considered the Nobel Prize for young people. It seeks to test the most outstanding university students in the world, with the purpose of developing ideas focused on providing sustainable solutions to current problems while competing for a seed capital of one million dollars.
This year Hult Prize at Yachay Tech 2022 launched the call to action “Getting the World Back to Work” and invited teams of 3 to 4 people to solve one of the biggest problems left by COVID-19. The idea is to look for startups that are capable of providing an opportunity for decent and meaningful work while creating a positive impact in the world. The call was joined by 80 Yachay Tech students to preside over this prestigious competition, guided by Campus Director Cristina Rubio.
María José Calderón, Ph.D., Vice Chancellor of Research at Yachay Tech, stated: “The world economy has to reactivate and there may have never been a better time than now to start this innovation process. Yachay Tech is known for having been successful in previous editions and that is why we are experiencing a renaissance.” In the end, Dr. Calderón, on behalf of the Supervisory and Institutional Strengthening Commission, thanked the jury for opening the event.
After an arduous selection process that began with 18 projects, 7 of them reached the finals for their innovative proposals. The projects were: Panka Inventions, Whey Bread, Biø Pink, Ecowaste By Green Lads, DemetraTech, EnergyPowerEC and Hirest. Once the presentation of all the finalist teams was completed, the members of the jury deliberated and chose as winners the teams “DemetraTech”, which won 3rd place, “Hirest” which won 2nd place and “Panka Inventions”, which won first place. The winning team will be in charge of representing Ecuador and Yachay Tech University in the regional Hult Prize 2022. The organization of the event managed to collect more than $10,000 in prizes in kind for the winners.
“Panka Inventions” is a sustainable Ecuadorian venture created by a multidisciplinary group of young innovators: Xavier Cóndor, Jhoao Minago, Darío Cabezas and Arianna Paredes. The project seeks to mitigate the environmental impact of used cooking oil on the water resources of Ecuador through the collection and revaluation to use it as a raw material in the development of a complete range of environmentally innovative products, thus contributing to the economic development of socially vulnerable sectors in Ecuador.
“Hirest” is a digital platform created by Danna Valencia, Franz Guzmán, Harvey Marín and Julio Caja that seeks to link companies with young graduates without work experience through Artificial Intelligence and automation mechanisms. This will allow to find potential young people with a high degree of compatibility around the requirements of knowledge, skills and abilities requested by companies.
“DemetraTech” is a venture created by María José Espinoza, Melany Aguilar and Pedro Zamora focused on the development of biotechnological solutions to promote family farming communities. It includes monitoring, control, measurement and prediction of the different agroecological and atmospheric factors that determine production in arable land.
With these actions, Yachay Tech University is committed to cooperation between faculty, entrepreneurs and students for the creation and promotion of innovative and environmentally sustainable ideas for the future of society and its economy.