Bio-Sekitar Enterprise, an EmPOWER-funded, student-led project from Heriot-Watt University Malaysia, recently participated in the MaGIC University Startup Challenge 2020, where ideas with business potential are transformed into a startup. The Bio-Sekitar Enterprise team secured 4th place in the Judges’ Selection Award (Social Innovation Track) and 3rd place in the Public Voting Award (Social Innovation Track).
The team is comprised of engineering students Husna Yusoff, Jack Ooi Teng Hao, Lee Rong Chen, Michael Ong, Leonard Chew and Brian Ashwin. With the goal of tackling food waste issues in Malaysia in mind, the team set forth to create a Bio-Digester, a “partially automated device which helps to convert food waste into cooking gas”. With the Bio-Digester, food waste could be recycled into two by-products, fertilizer and methane gas. Aside from being safe and easy to use and environmentally friendly, most importantly, this invention creates awareness about food waste management among the general public.
A total of 154 applicants were involved in the first phase of the MaGIC University Startup Challenge 2020 which began since June 2020. 28 start-ups were shortlisted for the final pitching session that was held from 18 to 20 October 2020.
Leonard Chew’s biggest takeaway from this journey is that “nothing is perfect, and that progress is better than perfection." Through the competition, the team has learned to master a number of new skills in a limited time span, and the learning curve posed as a challenge to their mindset and skillset.
On the team’s future plans, Jack Ooi quotes, “We definitely will not stop here; We will be revising our plans and roadmaps to start our first sales for the Bio-Digester and involve more institutions to support us in making this product more sustainable and commercial-friendly.”
The team also wishes to express their gratitude to the university and their supervisors, who are:
- Dr Noor Yusmiza Yusof
- Dr Adlansyah Abd Rahman
- Dr Hoo Choon Lih
- Ms Loo Yoke Mei
- Dr Jessica Ho
- Dr Foo Yin Fah