Technopreneurship Competition Winners Deepen Kuwait’s Innovation Culture
“The solutions that emerge from this challenge will not only benefit Kuwait but also humanity.” That’s how Mohammed Mohaisen, President & Chief Executive Officer, Gas Power Systems, GE Power, Middle East & North Africa, characterized the quality of winning entries in the first Kuwait Global Technopreneurship Challenge 2015. GE was the Innovation Partner for the event.
Organized to mark the 40th anniversary of Kuwait University’s College of Engineering and Petroleum, the months-long competition involved 65 teams, whose members came from 71 countries. The teams of three to five members each looked to develop innovative solutions to one of three Global Challenges for Engineering in the 21st Century: “Make Solar Energy Economical,” “Advance Health Informatics,” and “Advance Personalized Learning.”
The National Academy of Engineers in the United States has identified 14 global engineering challenges, of which three were selected for the Kuwaiti challenge.
More than just a competition, the challenge began with series of online courses, where the students took quizzes and completed coursework on the material studied. Seventeen teams from countries as diverse as the United Kingdom, Nigeria, Turkey, Cyprus, France, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait were short-listed following the learning component.
They travelled to Kuwait in mid-November for three days of workshops, collaborative activities and speeches. Workshops helped teams prepare for the final pitch with information on effective communication, teamwork, the entrepreneurial mindset and how to conceive, design and implement ideas. There also was a cultural program organized to give international participants an up-close view of Kuwaiti life, heritage, customs and gastronomy.
GE employees led several workshops, providing practical advice and insights as teams finalized their pitch presentations.
The competition winners were selected by a jury of experts, and each team received cash prizes for their innovation. First prize and KD 1,500 (USD 4,930) went to the “Legacy Team,” comprised of Mohamed Ehab, Muhammad Sartaj Khan, Omar Mohammed, Mohanad Bajuniad and Naomi Randall; second prize and KD 1,250 (USD 4,110) went to the “E-Innovation Team” of Abdullah Osama Abdullah, Mahmoud Mohmmad Hassan and Ahmed Essam Omar; third prize and KD 1,000 (USD 3,287) went to the “Diabetes Lifecycle Management System Team” of Engin Demirel, Sedat Kesmen, Nedret Kesmen, Hussein Alsayiegh and Hanaa Hussain. The Judges Choice Award and KD 500 (USD 1,643) went to “The Concept Crew,” comprised of Hessa Al-Wuhaib, Sager Al-Kuwari, Areej Hussain Mulla and Yousef Adel Al-Musaileem.
“The main objective was to connect our students with the world and give them exposure to international experiences and new technologies,” said Tariq A Aldowaisan, the event organizer and Kuwait University professor. The event was organized in collaboration with Taylor’s University, School of Engineering in Malaysia.
GE — which is transforming itself into a digital industrial company and delivering productivity and efficiency gains to its regional partners through the Industrial Internet — recently announced its investment in the GE Kuwait Technology Center, the first GE facility of its kind to be located outside the United States. The center aims to encourage collaborative innovation between GE and Kuwaiti partners and customers in the area of power generation.
For nearly eight decades, GE has worked with government and private sector customers in Kuwait, with notable examples including GE’s collaboration on the world’s largest wastewater plant in Sulaibiya. GE contributes to Kuwaiti development in areas such as health care, aviation, power, and oil and gas.