Vietnamese students’ project to recycle corn cob wins global entrepreneurial competition hinh anh 1Cobtain group of Vietnam wins SAGE Global 2020 Completion (Photo: VietnamPlus)

Hanoi (VNA) – Cobtain – a group of Vietnamese students, beat thousands of contestants from over 30 countries to become the winner at the SAGE Global 2020 Competition with their idea of recycling corn cobs into agricultural products.

They were announced as winners of the first prize in the final round of the competition, which was held virtually on August 11.

The group’s project has contributed to reducing environmental pollution and combating greenhouse gas emissions - the direct cause of global warming.

SAGE Global is an international startup competition for teen contestants who have a passion for business and want to solve global issues related to the environment, energy, and climate change.

The competition offered contestants a chance to propose their entrepreneurial solutions to raise living standards and promote environmental sustainability.

[Nearly 87,000 USD to invest in rural youth start-ups]

This year's competition brought together more than 10,000 students from 30 countries and territories around the world.

Unused corn cobs - an agricultural waste rich in protein - are in abundance in Vietnam. Farmers usually dispose of them in bodies of water or burn them, which causes air and water pollution.

To tackle this problem, Cobtain is proposing to buy corn cobs from farmers who don’t need them, then process them into pellets to make cattle feed or plant fertilisers.

Biocompatible beddings, which is indispensable in many cattle houses across Vietnam, are also included in Cobtain’s list of products made from corn cobs. These beddings usually consist of corn cobs, husks, sawdust, and other probiotics and are placed on the floor of cowsheds to help break down urine and faece, and block out bad smells, killing harmful bacteria, and reducing environmental pollution.

Using biocompatible beddings also saves farmers time and effort when cleaning farmhouses as well as water used for cleaning.

Cobtain’s innovative proposals will help poor farmers of ethnic minorities earn a more stable income and improve their living standards.

This natural product is cheap and friendly to consumers.

To implement their project, the team’s members joined research and fact-finding trips for nearly a year before the competition took place. Not stopping at ideas on paper, they also embarked on building a business strategy, promoting and selling products to the market.

Vietnamese students’ project to recycle corn cob wins global entrepreneurial competition hinh anh 2Not stopping at ideas on paper, they also embarked on building a business strategy, promoting and selling products to the market. (Photo: VietnamPlus)

These bold steps have helped the Vietnamese students make their mark and gain a high score in the competition.

Having won first prize at the competition, Cobtain also walked away with two extra awards in the special competition on 17 sustainable development goals under the UN’s 2030 Agenda. The Vietnamese students mentioned the goals of poverty reduction and climate change adaptation.

Through these achievements, the Vietnamese students have confirmed the ability to increase the income of ethnic minorities living in the highland areas, where their livelihoods depend mainly on farming.

Cobtain’s project has also contributed to reducing environmental pollution and greenhouse gas emissions – the main causes behind global warming.

Vietnamese students’ project to recycle corn cob wins global entrepreneurial competition hinh anh 3Cobtain is made up of seven students studying at BVIS, Concordia, BIS and Archimedes high schools in Hanoi, who share the common goals of increasing living standards for Vietnamese people and improving the environment. (Photo: VietnamPlus)

Due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s SAGE Global competition was hosted online, but all teams took part in the contest with a serious spirit.

Winning the contest is a worthy achievement for Cobtain’s efforts, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.

SAGE Global is an international non-profit organisation dedicated to teenage entrepreneurs aged between 13-18, headquartered in California, USA, and offices around the world.

SAGE Global aims to help youths build and operate social businesses, thus addressing critical issues and global challenges, such as environmental sustainability, renewable energy, transportation, and other issues caused by global climate change./.

In 2019, for the first time, Vietnam participated in the completion. Rainbow Straws of Vietnam also surpassed competitors from 30 countries worldwide to become the winner in the SAGE global 2019 competition with the idea of making straws from unhusked rice. 
VNA