One of the participating teams in the Academic Working Capital program won the 2015 Santander Universities Award in the category Entrepreneurship. The students of Mechatronics Engineering of the Polytechnic School of the University of São Paulo (Poli-USP) Fernando Torres, Fernando Lopes and Henrique Martins signed up for the award with the project they are developing on AWC, the Selector of Eucalyptus Seedlings.
The team was one of 20 winners of the award, which received more than 23,000 entries. The students and their professor advisor, André Leme Fleury, received a trophy at the awards event, held on November 19 in São Paulo (SP). They will also receive BRL 100,000 to invest in the project, consulting services from the Endeavor organization and a fellowship at the Babson College in Boston, USA.
The group’s coordinator, Fernando Torres, highlights the AWC importance in this achievement. “Without AWC we would not have been able to build the prototype, which was crucial to winning the award. And now we will use the award money to build the machine,” he explains. The student also says that the team monitor on AWC, Artur Vilas Boas, and the program content coordinator, Diogo Dutra, contributed to the development of the business plan and pitch training. “Arthur helped throughout the process, we spoke to him every day asking for tips and referrals. And Diogo Dutra encouraged us to do sign up for the award,” he says.
The product created by the team is a machine that makes automatic selection of suitable eucalyptus seedlings for planting. In 2016, the students plan to devote exclusively to the project, with the opening of a company, patent application and completion of the machine to start marketing it. Later this year, the group will have to present the MVP (minimum viable product) at the AWC Investment Fair, which takes place on 17 December. “We want to show the prototype and prove that we have made good use of the financial resources and time we received from AWC. We also want to put more people in touch with our idea to receive feedback,” says Fernando.