Friday, January 22

DiGi ‘Challenge for Change’ hopefuls plan to attain victory


KUCHING: DiGi Telecommunications Sdn Bhd (DiGi) is bringing back its ‘Challenge for Change Social Venture’ (Challenge for Change) competition for the third time, in its corporate social responsibility effort to play a part in addressing the social and environmental problems in addition to developing budding social entrepreneurs.

This year, the competition gives participants the opportunity to become social entrepreneurs by creating a groundbreaking and viable social adventure that helps to address existing social, economic and environmental challenges faced by the underserved communities through mobile and broadband technologies.

TECHNOLOGICAL EDGE: Team ACE (from left) Hii Sin Wei, Lee Siew Yee, Kho Sze Yee and Alvin Lau, with their mentor Anita Chua. Inspired to bring electricity to rural areas, the team plans to device a capacitor to harness energy from daily body motions.

DiGi is offering up to RM200,000 for worthy social entrepreneurs who pitched the most creative ideas and created the most social value to the judges. Among the 18 groups of contenders from University Malaysia Sarawak (Unimas), two groups with the most promising ideas were chosen to develop their ideas further.

Alternative Current Electricity (ACE) team leader, Alvin Lau explained to The Borneo Post during an interview, “The core concept of the idea we pitched would be to recycle waste energy from our daily lifestyles. The motion produced daily by the human body such as walking and running could be harnessed.”

According to Lau, the capacitor attached to the human foot could then be placed into a transformer and subsequently generate electricity via the piezoelectric method. He opined further that rural communities would have a higher living standard as electricity became accessible to them.

His fellow team mates from Unimas Kho Sze Yee Lily, Hii Sin Wei and Lee Siew Yee, concurred that they were inspired to bring electricity to rural areas by using renewable energy, in addition to leveraging the opportunity provided by DiGi to learn the ways of the business world.

Another benefit that ACE’s product would bring was cited as the reduction of illiteracy, which the team believed was a big social problem in the country. “We suggest bringing electricity to rural areas, thus allowing students to be able to study at night.”

For future aspirations with regards to the project they were working on, Lau added, “We would love to obtain intellectual property rights to our products and mass produce it as an alternative source of cheap renewable energy that makes use of recycled energy to reduce wastage.”

According to ACE mentor, DiGi head of business operation support, Anita Chua, “ACE would be using the Internet and mobile technology as a marketing media to promote its very viable product and create awareness of its existence.”

ACE would now be given a three month period to develop its budding idea into an opportunity for an actual social venture, as would fellow Unimas students from team Sonar Tribal which was mentored by DiGi head of sales and distribution in Sarawak, Christopher Joe Huong and DiGi business development’s Natalie Kong.

Led by Adruce Azman, Sonar Tribal’s project aimed to promote tribal music through the use of Internet media, thereby helping to groom local aspiring and independent musicians to expand their reach across the globe.

“We will seek out talents from rural areas such as Annah Rais and engage musicians to participate in our venture. I believe our efforts could help to inspire more local musicians, promote tourism and Sarawakian music as we have our own unique sound,” added Adruce.

Sonar Tribal’s members, Fandy Julim, Mohd Hafizi, Mohd Sufyan and Abdul Muhaimin were placed in charge of different functions of the venture including marketing, graphics among others in their shared vision inspired by musical talents such as Javanese musician Trisum and other similar acts.

“Music is the language that transcends all nations, that is what inspired our idea,” said Adruce who further explained that the seed funding would be used to recruit talents to their fledgling recording label, the team had since composed several songs which they hoped would be produced and promoted online through iTunes.

The team believed that the musicians would go on to hold live shows and produce CDs to further spread Sarawakian tribal music to a larger audience, subsequently launch a school of music to enhance musical talents. They had since commenced to engage worldwide attention through social media such as Twitter.

The final judging for the competition would be held in March 2012 whereby a panel of industry professionals would decide on the winner of the entire challenge.