DECA Inc., and students from around the world are showing people you don’t have to have a PhD – or even a driver’s license – to solve real-world problems with simple, innovative solutions.
Nearly 8,500 students participated in the 2015 DECA Inc., Idea Challenge, a featured event of Global Entrepreneurship Week. Students of all ages were tasked to think creatively, leverage limited resources and work in teams to invent a new use for cardboard boxes in just eight days.
There were more than 2,230 team entries, including submissions from Canada, Korea, the Republic of Moldova, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom and the United States.
Idea Challenge winners were divided into categories – the elementary and middle school global team, high school and collegiate.
The elementary and middle school global winning team is Eco Blinds, and Ion Creanga from the Republic of Moldova. The student winners received $500 for their cardboard cutout blinds. Eco Blinds is an environmentally-friendly invention that uses recycled cardboard to create window blinds. The students cut out strips of cardboard, painted them, and strung them together with hot glue and string.
The high school global winning team hails from the United Arab Emirates and GEMS World Academy. The Shades is a small, temporary shelter system that uses pieced-together cardboard boxes to help protect people from the harmful affects of the sun. The team from the UAE built The Shades to help provide workers with much-needed shade during intense labor in hot conditions. The Shades can also provide a temporary shelter in emergencies. These student winners received $750.
The collegiate global winners, Pallets for the Planet, consist of a team of Arizona State University students who discovered a way to create durable pallets out of old cardboard boxes. The pallets are specifically targeted for small business owners, who will often have the cardboard box material leftover from shipments and other inventory. The pallets are easy to assemble and disassemble, and can hold more than 700 pounds in testing. These student winners also received $750.
All of the student teams generated an innovative and sustainable new use for a commonplace item, and pitched their idea in a three-minute YouTube video presentation.