The Challenge, a team competition organised by the Universitat Politècnica de València (UPV) and Startup Valencia as part of the Valencia Digital Summit 2022, has for the second year running brought together the best university talent in the Valencian Region to develop innovative triple-impact projects that respond to the main issues facing society today. 

There were three winners announced this year at VDS2022, the internationally recognised tech event of the Valencian Region that was held from the 24th to the 26th of October at the City of Arts and Sciences: Viejos Amigos, BlueChange and GreenCam. All three of the projects were designed to improve people’s lives and generate value in society.

In total, the competition received 96 applications from which 46 participants were selected and divided into 9 groups, who then presented products and services that responded to the challenges related to the main theme of VDS2022: Inspiring the Good Future.

The teams presented their innovative solutions to issues relating to mental health, the isolation of vulnerable groups, talent recruitment and new hybrid work formats, resource scarcity and decarbonisation. For more than twelve hours, the teams were advised by experts in agile methodologies from the company Upbeat Modus, and were supported by a varied team of mentors made up of leading professionals from HP, Opentop (the innovation hub of Fundación ValenciaPort), BigTranslation, Aktion Legal and Zubi Group, as well as the entities IDEAS UPV and Startup Valencia.

The solutions were presented a week later at a pitch session during Valencia Digital Summit. The winning projects were announced at the closing ceremony of the event on Thursday, the 26th of October.

The main awarding company of this edition of The Challenge was HP through the HP-UPV Business Chair, which aims to promote collaboration between businesses and universities with regards to innovation and development.

The jury responsible for evaluating the proposals was made up of Roberto Sarasa, HP SW HUB Valencia Site Manager; José Ignacio Ruiz, Open Innovation and Product Manager at GoHub Ventures; Ángel Buigues, BStartup Advisor at Banco Sabadell; Fernando Blaya, Portfolio Manager at Elewit de Red Eléctrica; Daniel Martínez, Senior Technician in the Entrepreneurship Area at IDEAS UPV; and Karina Virrueta, Head of Ecosystem Development at Startup Valencia. When evaluating the projects, aspects such as the understanding and quantification of the problem to be solved, the degree of innovation, differentiation and creativity, the technical and commercial viability of the solution, its triple impact and achievement of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and the clarity, quality and synthesis of the presentation were taken into account.

 

Viejos Amigos

The winning project of The Challenge, which was awarded a monetary prize of €1,200 along with personalised mentoring, is a companion pet service under a subscription model designed to improve the quality of life of the elderly, a social group at high risk of social isolation.

BlueChange

This solution, awarded €1,000, proposes a cigarette butt collection system: smokers throw their cigarette butts into a smart container and receive points in an app with which they can buy products made from recycled material. The waste collected is used to develop new materials and products that can be marketed.

GreenCam

This tool for the correct recycling of waste won third place in The Challenge with a cash prize of €800. The tool allows products to be scanned in order to identify their correct recycling method.

 

An international tech event

VDS2022 served to showcase and highlight the innovative solutions being developed in the Valencian Community, as well as to highlight the talent and technology being generated in the region. It allowed prominent national and international investors, with a portfolio of more than €6 billion to invest in the coming year, as well as CEOs and founders of the world’s leading multinationals, to home in on the Valencian entrepreneurial ecosystem.

The fifth edition of Valencia Digital Summit counted on the support of the public administration, both local and regional. The Generalitat Valenciana, Valencia City Council, Valencia Activa, Las Naves, Diputación de Valencia and Valencian Finance Institute were involved in VDS2022 to demonstrate their commitment to the Valencian innovation ecosystem and to boost its dynamism.

 

 

 

 

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