“Make Saving Money Fun.” That's the task that thousands of students of all ages from at least 51 countries will tackle in the next week in response to a challenge unveiled yesterday by the Stanford Technology Ventures Program. And the students' actions just may help people who may or may not be in need of budget advice to find a way through the global recession.
Free to interpret the challenge any way they want, students have just eight days to come up with fun ways to save money, innovative solutions and convey their results in a short video posted to YouTube. Called the Global Innovation Tournament 2009, the competition is organized by STVP at Stanford University for Global Entrepreneurship Week and run locally by over 100 universities, schools and other organizations. The global sponsor for the competition is Intuit Inc., a leading provider of financial management solutions for consumers and small businesses.
An official activity of the Week, the competition is designed to inspire students to work in teams, challenge assumptions, seize opportunities and be creative. Most of all, it gives them a taste of what it's like to be entrepreneurial: students must deliver results while working with tight constraints, such as limited time and resources. Great ideas are not enough – they actually need to implement their ideas. Local and then global judges will determine who has had the biggest impact during the eight days.
Past versions of this competition involved giving students a common object, such as Post-it® Notes, rubber bands, or water bottles, and challenging them to create as much value as possible from these objects in a few days. Teams invented products, raised and donated money, composed music, entertained, helped the disabled, made political statements, educated children, and much more.
Producer, Quincy Jones, III, and Grammy-Award winning hip-hop artist, Chamillionaire, helped launch the tournament live at Stanford yesterday afternoon in front of 1,700 people. They shared their experiences as entrepreneurs who use the very skills that tournament participants must draw upon and talked about innovation in the changing music industry. The local winners in most locations will be announced during Global Entrepreneurship Week, Nov. 16-22, and global winners will be announced online on Thursday, Dec. 3, on www.unleashingideas.org.
“This competition is a condensed, entrepreneurship immersion experience,” said Jonathan Ortmans, president of Global Entrepreneurship Week. “It's enormously empowering for the students to realize they can create value from virtually nothing. This is the fourth time STVP has run this competition, and the results are always astounding.”
Intuit's chief innovation officer, Kris Halvorsen, said that the challenge could yield new ways of thinking about personal finance.
“Entrepreneurial students collaborating to solve an important problem that has global impact is right in line with Intuit's fast-paced, innovation-centric culture. And, in this economic downturn, Intuit is more focused than ever on helping consumers and small businesses save and make money,” Halvorsen said. “As ardent supporters of the next generation of innovators, we applaud Stanford's open approach to uncovering fresh ideas that will positively affect how people create value and make and manage their money.”
There is still time for students and organizations interested in participating in the Global Innovation Tournament to jump in. Details are available at http://www.unleashingideas.org/tournament.