Students in Kauaʻi Community Collegeʻs BUS 190-Survey of International Business class collaborated virtually with a team of students from Al-Baqa Applied University in Amman, Jordan as part of the Global Solutions Sustainability Challenge. The teams prepared a video pitch and business concept paper that were reviewed and scored in the first round of judging. Team Jordwaiian was one of six teams selected to pitch their final concept to a panel of judges on April 21 as part of a virtual business exposition.
Team Jordwaiian placed third overall and also won the Audience Favorite award. They won $1,000 and opportunities to receive more funding through the Stevens Initiative to continue to develop their concepts.
“I am extremely proud of the students from both Kauaʻi Community College and Al-Balqa Applied University for the business concept that they collaboratively created,” said Kauaʻi CC Assistant Professor Dirk Soma. “Throughout the semester we focused on presenting an innovative solution that supports the four pillars of sustainability—people, planet, profit and pono, while sharing our cultures and creating friendships.”
Global Solutions provided the challenge prompt: The technology industry requires sustainable development that meets the needs of the present without compromising future generations. How can we create greater sustainability in the technology industry through the three pillars: people, planet and profit?
Seventeen binational teams and 362 students from Jordan, Iraq and the U.S.. competed to create the best sustainable business concept to address the challenge.
Through this process, team Jordwaiian identified two issues and challenges. The first was e-waste. Across the globe, 20 to 50 million metric tons of e-waste are being disposed of every year with only 20 percent being recycled or repurposed. Jordan has been confronted with growing e-waste issues, and being in the middle of the Pacific, the island of Kauaʻi and the state of Hawaiʻi have to deal with a growing amount of e-waste.
Another issue identified through community-based interviews and research is the growing digital divide and societal-obsolescence. As technology usage and reliance on technology increases, we need to make sure that all communities and generations have access, skills and knowledge in order to participate fully in the world today and in the future.
Team Jordwaiian’s business concept was a company called E-Waste Not, Want Not, Inc. (EWNWN) to provide a holistic solution to minimize e-waste through six divisions, while addressing society’s challenges.
EWNWN will profit through several divisions from the extraction and resale of precious metals, and selling 3D printer filament and repurposed materials for construction. The other non-profit divisions will benefit those in need by providing refurbished phones and computers, providing reclaimed art materials and keeping generations connected through youth-led training programs for seniors.
Team Jordwaiian says EWNWN is a sustainable economic entity that will help meet the challenges of a global society as technology is increasingly integrated into people’s lives.
—By Kelli Trifonovitch