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On Her Way to Being India’s Next Billion Dollar Company – and She Just Turned 20

October 27, 2015   Posted By Joel Goldstein

When I was asked to be a semi-finals judge for our Entrepreneurs’ Organization’s GlobalEO - GSEA
Student Entrepreneur Award (EO GSEA) competition, I was excited to be a part of it.  I’d certainly heard how impressive these students were, how creative, how inspirational.  But really I had no idea.

EO’s competition draws more than 1000 entries from college students from around the world.  As a judge, I was part of a team of judges who picked a top winner from seven competitors who had won their local competitions in Costa Rica, Russia, Sweden, or even down the road in Chicago.  Their stories were amazing:

-  The student from Indonesia who processed a local plant to create oils used in the perfume and pharmaceutical industries.  He was so successful he was able to triple the daily wages of his employees – to $3 a day.  Oh, he also withstood a local middleman who placed a gun against his temple and told him to close his business.  And we think WE have problems with our supply chains!

-  A team of young women from Colombia who created a nail salon business that grew rapidly from a few tables in the back of a friend’s bar to multiple locations.

-  A Nigerian woman who created an inexpensive soap product and novel distribution system as part of her determination to find the diarrhea that kills 25% of the people in her country because of lack of soap.

-  The young woman from India (she says she’s India’s next billion dollar company and I would never be one to bet against her!) who created a novel, physiological method for training elementary school childrens’ brains to learn in a different way.  The method proved so successful that she already has more than 100 franchises of her system in cities around the world.

-  These young entrepreneurs were impressive even with rather mundane ideas.  The least innovative business we saw in our judging panel was a Chicago college student who rented inflatables and furniture for kids parties and corporate events.  Despite a rather competitive market, the company grew so rapidly that both his parents quit their full time jobs – to come work for him!

None of these entrepreneurs had graduated yet, and they weren’t all business or technology majors.  They came from every discipline (a farm-to-table matchmaking website for chefs was run by a political science major!), and they brought the passion, energy and creativity that we typically hear can only be found in Silicon Valley, Harvard or Stanford.  I wish I could spend more than a day listening to these business concepts – they were all winners for me.

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