The Social Business Creation (SBC) 2021 competition wrapped up in Canada with the first prize awarded to the Nanoneem project of two Vietnamese universities, its organizers announced on Sunday.
The global final round of the competition took place on October 2 with the competition of the top five SBC 2020 and the top five SBC 2021, which brought together 265 teams of 80 universities from 24 countries around the world.
Excellently overcoming their rivals, Vietnam’s Nanoneem project won the top prize (the Scotiabank Prize) and grabbed the 'Global Champion' title, thereby receiving a cash prize of CA$30,000 (US$23,770) and $4,200 (US$3,330) worth of scholarships from MOSAIC Summer School.
The project was developed by Dr. Duong Nguyen Hong Nhung, a lecturer in the biotechnology faculty of International University in Ho Chi Minh City, her students, and some other students from the Foreign Trade University in the same city.
Nanoneem introduces the application of nanotechnology to manufacturing safe plant protection drugs from herbs, toward clean and sustainable agriculture.
As a unique project that provides a potential business model benefiting the social community, Nanoneem was highly appreciated by the judges and always held the top positions through the last competition rounds.
The second prize went to the Argentinian team that presented a project on vocational training and job search for disadvantaged young people.
The Mexican team won third place for its project to clean up the river ecosystem.
“The Vietnamese team could not attend the competition directly in Canada due to the epidemic situation, but they had to compete online through Zoom," said Nguyen Hong Nhung, the Nanoneem team’s representative.
"This was a disadvantage compared to its rivals from other countries, but our team tried to overcome it.”
This is the first time a Vietnamese team has grasped the top prize through the recognition of financial, investment, and startup experts in the world, Dr. Nhung said.
“I feel very happy, mixed with honor and pride,” the team leader added.
Next year, another project of the International University, Brain Analytics, will compete in the final round of the SBC 2022 competition in Canada.
This project focuses on using artificial intelligence (AI) software in the diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease through magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) results.
The annual SBC competition has been initiated and organized by HEC Montréal University of Canada (HEC) and Professor Muhammad Yunus, 2006 Nobel Peace Prize winner, since 2016.
This is a global competition and an innovative training platform through which participants learn how to use market mechanisms to solve social challenges.
The first prize winner receives CA$30,000 in cash, the second prize CA$15,000 (US$11,880), and the third place CA$10,000 (US$7,920).
Each of the top three teams also wins a CA$4,200 summer course in creative management from HEC.
Since its inception, the contest has attracted the participation of various universities from many countries around the world, including Canada, France, the U.S., Japan, Germany, Argentina, and Mexico, among others.