Where is the best place for big ideas?

According a recent article in the Wall Street Journal, the best place in the world to start a business is Denmark. But this week, I think the best place in the world for emerging entrepreneurs is at the Intel+Berkeley Technology Entrepreneurship Challenge (IBTEC). The excitement in the air has been palpable as 27 teams of student entrepreneurs from around the world compete for $40,000 and learn from the competition. I had the pleasure of being in the audience as some of the teams presented their business plans to the judges in Silicon Valley venture capital community. The innovations that they presented were truly game changing and many were focused on tackling some of the biggest global challenges of our time. Here’s just a sampling:

To address climate change and the environment

- New energy efficient lighting technologies

- Bio fuel created from waste cooking oil

- Cost efficient small wind turbines

- Windows that generate solar energy

- Innovative water desalination filters

- Waste to energy technology for large buildings

To address disease and improve health

- Low cost biosensors to detect cardiac, cancer and infectious disease

- A motorcycle based fumigation system to fight malaria and dengue

- Prosthetic spinal disks to improve patient outcomes

- New teeth brightening technology

- Modeling software for plastic surgery

The stories behind the ideas were also compelling. One I was particularly touched by a team of women from Israel who had created an early breast cancer detection device based on her own experiences as a breast cancer survivor.

There were many more great ideas, such as a company from Singapore that has created a platform to enable individuals to create online giving campaigns for non profits. But don’t take my word for it, from November 17-December 6 you can vote on your favorite team from IBTEC as part of the People’s Choice award on www.inspiredbyeducation.com

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