9 July 2021
The aeronautical industry was unfamiliar to us, so we researched extensively to understand its needs and trends. And Voila! We came up with the idea of converting airline food waste into fertilizers, providing farmers with a cheaper organic fertiliser alternative to chemical fertilisers. We called ourselves “The Food Fighters” and named our project “Flight 15” which was inspired by the 15th UN Sustainable Development Goal.
Firstly, we submitted a video outlining the problem, our solution, and other benefits we hope Flight 15 will provide. As one of the 10 teams shortlisted for the semi-finals out of 60, our efforts certainly paid off. Embry Riddle organised an entrepreneurship workshop where we learnt more about start-ups, pitches, and investors under Mr Shiva, an entrepreneur himself. We were also assigned Joachim Lee as our student mentor. We prepared a pitch deck and executive summary under their guidance, qualifying us as one of the eight teams in the final race to win this competition.
As we neared the finals, we revised our presentation to better appeal to the judges. Five distinguished judges evaluated our 7-minute pitch followed by a 7-minute Q&A session. It was nerve-wracking to present before respectable judges and competitors from all over Asia, who offered great perspectives. However, our idea of making the airline industry more sustainable triumphed. We targeted sustainability and reducing aviation’s carbon footprint, and focused on technology, differentiating ourselves from the competition. On 19 June, we won the competition with our zeal and conscientiousness and received a $6,000 scholarship and $2,500 prize money.
It was a great experience where we learnt valuable lessons of teamwork, resilience and entrepreneurship that would serve us for life. On behalf of my team, I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude to Ms Jamuna Madhav for giving us this opportunity, Mr Shiva for guiding us and our mentor Joachim Lee who supported us throughout this competition.
Click here to read more about our win and the competition.
Eshita Suvarna, 6 CKS