The invaluable advice of Sir Richard Branson, MXN $200,000 in cash from Virgin Mobile, the incubation of the project at Universidad del Valle de México (UVM), and a trip to the United Kingdom sponsored by Culture Group, were the prizes received by the young Mexicans who created Aliada, the winning project in the grand finale of the Pitch to Rich Mexico 2016 competition held at UVM Campus Cumbres in Nuevo León.
Pitch to Rich Mexico 2016 was born thanks to the alliance between Virgin Mobile and Laureate Mexico to boost university entrepreneurship through a business competition based on the development of mobile applications with a social benefit. The three finalists were selected among over 100 projects presented by students from over 45 universities.
As the lead judge during the grand finale, Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Group and a world-renowned figure for his support of entrepreneurship, highlighted the entrepreneurial spirit in our country.
“It is wonderful to be here in Mexico, it is amazing to see the number of entrepreneurs you have here, I have always believed that Mexico may someday be the best country, because there is a great entrepreneurial spirit. I'm going to be right, I hope this becomes true,” said Sir Richard Branson.
Aliada, the winning project, is a platform created by a team led by Rodolfo L. Corcuera Meier, from Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México (ITAM). Aliada helps users hire the best domestic service workers in their city immediately and, at the same time, it is a tool for people who seek employment in domestic services, near their area and at the most convenient times. In almost two years of operation, this application has enabled domestic workers to access a better quality of life, since the Aliadas (as the workers are called) spend, on average, 50% less on transportation and receive three times as many requests for services, which translates into higher monthly income and more time with their families.
The other two finalists were GWi, formed by students and alumni from Universidad del Valle de México (UVM), Tecnológico de Monterrey, and Universidad Iberoamericana, who created an application that works as a security alert through a bracelet, and Lubvia, created by Enrique Ugarte, a Benemérita Universidad Autónoma de Puebla (BUAP) alum, which is a device designed for pregnant women and newborn children with the objective of preventing fetal distress and sudden infant death syndrome.
During the final event, a special recognition was given to the public’s favorite, chosen through a direct vote by the audience in the official website of Pitch to Rich Mexico 2016, this award went to GWi.
Dieter Holtz, CEO of Laureate Mexico, and Farid Aouragh, CEO of Virgin Mobile, joined Sir Richard Branson as judges in the grand finale.
"For Laureate Mexico being able to support entrepreneurs in our country through the inspiring figure of Richard Branson is a privilege and a great opportunity. Through our two educational institutions, Universidad del Valle de México and Universidad Tecnológica de México, we have a history of more than 10 years promoting youth entrepreneurship through the UVM and UNITEC awards for social and technological development,” said Dieter Holtz, after thanking Richard Branson for the opportunity of this alliance with Virgin.
Addressing the young entrepreneurs, Farid Aouragh said, "I am impressed by the quality of your projects, your maturity, and your confidence, I wish you a very bright future. Our country needs people like you who can make the future of our nation more wonderful,” said Farid Aouragh, CEO of Virgin Mobile.
Pitch to Rich Mexico 2016 had an excellent panel of judges that selected the three finalists. This panel included the following organizations: INADEM; Santander Universities and Universia Mexico; Proempleo DF; New Ventures; Enactus Worldwide and Enactus México; Endeavor México; Fundación Educación Superior Empresa; Fondeadora; Junior Achievement Mexico; The Center of Applied Sciences and Technological Development of UNAM; 909 LABS; Global Student Entrepreneur Awards, and Alta Ventures Mexico.
This article has been translated into English to be shared on the Laureate International Universities website.