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Disrupt-IT Challenge Elevates Young Tech-Preneurs

at UNIMY, Putrajaya , 7 Feb 2018
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Cyberjaya, 29 January – Over RM40,000 went home to the inaugural Disrupt-IT
Challenge’s contestants from UniSZA, University Malaya, Asia Pacific University,
International Medical University, and Multimedia University. The competition is an
annual competition sponsored by Prestariang Berhad and supported by Malaysian
Global Innovation & Creativity Centre (MaGIC) that aims at connecting students
from across disciplines to innovate disruptive tech solutions to make lives better.
The final pitch took place over the weekend at MaGIC headquarters in Cyberjaya.,
and closed with an award ceremony. This competition was jointly organised by five
Malaysian universities – University Malaysia of Computer Science & Engineering
(UNIMY), Multimedia University (MMU), Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM), Taylor’s
University, and Universiti Sultan Zainal Abidin (UniSZA).

Launched on 20 October 2017, the Disrupt-IT Challenge’s goal is to facilitate
greater entrepreneurs in IT or tech-preneurs in proposing a tech-based
“disruptiveness” project that can support or enable increased affordability,
sustainability and innovativeness among industries and communities alike. The
competition was warmly received with more than 100 submissions from foundation, degree and postgraduate students from 26 institutions.

Dr. Abu Hasan Ismail, CEO of Prestariang Berhad and founder of Disrupt-IT
Challenge, commented that “My vision for the competition was to continue to
stimulate the next generation to think beyond their academic and to bring change
that can impact society at large by using technology to make lives better. This is
the first Disrupt-IT Challenge and hopefully, with the second installation and so
forth, more students will get a better sense of the mission, which is to find
solutions to problems. Also, through the competition, I hope to see students from different fields – business, medical, technology and communication – come
together and work as a team to elevate lives through innovation and disruptive
technology.”

Over 100 submissions, only ten finalists were selected. However, one team
withdrew; hence the nine remaining teams competed at the finals. These finalists
were represented by University Malaysia of Computer Science & Engineering
(UNIMY), Multimedia University (MMU), Universiti Sultan Zainal Abidin (UniSZA),
University Malaya (UM), Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman (UTAR), Universiti Teknologi
Malaysia (UTM), Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia (USIM), International Medical
University (IMU) and Asia Pacific University (APU). Interestingly, there were teams
with combination of members from different institutions.

The finalist teams are – in no particular order – CHLORING (UTM), SMART (UniSZA),
Le Papillon (UNIMY & USIM), iSPARKS (MMU), FoodNat (UTAR), Green Dream
(UniSZA), ComePung App (MMU), Readpublic (UM, IMU, & APU) and TutorTags
(MMU). The finalists were judged by a panel that comprised of senior educators,
industrialists and practitioners. The submissions were evaluated based on a
combination of the respective proposal’s innovativeness and “disruptiveness”,
commercial viability, as well as its impact on the market, society and environment.

A total of RM40,000 cash prizes were awarded to the respective winners. The first
prize worth RM15,000 was bagged by team Green Dream. Their project “In-Situ
Micro Algae Bio-engineered Harvester”, also bagged the Best Business Model
award. The enthusiastic team Green Dream stated, “We will use the money to produce another variant of the product so that we can capture additional five-
percent market share in the fish breeding segment.” Aside from bagging the second prize worth RM10,000, team Readpublic also grabbed the Best Pitch Award
and Best Exhibition Booth through their one-stop platform for book price comparison and used books marketplace. The third prize worth RM5,000 went to team iSPARKS, who employed Deep Learning algorithm in their “Integrated Outdoor
Smart Parking System”. Finally, team CHLORING won the Best Creative Idea
through a smart wearable device that monitors health and automatically informs
family members in the event of an emergency. In addition to the monetary prize,
the finalists get the opportunity to develop a continued relationship with industry
professionals who will serve as mentors and advise the teams in furthering their
projects in the future.

UNIMY Vice Chancellor and Organising Chairman of the competition Prof. Datuk Dr.
Khairuddin Ab Hamid stated that, “The first challenge has seen a good take up.
Moving from hackathon, Disrupt-IT Challenge is a platform for students of
multidiscipline to table their ideas with commercialisation element. Our mentors
from MaGIC and others have made this initiative a plausible one. I am looking
forward to the next one.”

In the closing note, Aditya Tuli, Executive Director of MaGIC and Chief Judge of this
competition advised young tech-preneurs to be persistent in their pursuit for
success and be consistent in getting feedback from customers. He also reminded
future tech-preneurs to place more focus on business viability of their products.

For more information about Disrupt-IT Challenge, please head on to https://
tinyurl.com/y8y6kb9x
 or Facebook @dit.challenge.

(by UNIMY)