On October 7, 2023, the Mekong Water Challenge (MWC) 2023 Demo Day was held, marking an incredible three-month journey of incubation. Hosted by the Department of Science and Technology of Can Tho City, and coordinated with the Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation – Fulbright University Vietnam (CEI), Nuoc Solutions, Research Institute of Climate Change – Can Tho University, and other partners, the MWC brings together innovative ideas aimed at protecting water resources in the Mekong Delta.
A Meaningful Incubation Journey
The MWC program reflects the efforts and commitment of CEI at Fulbright University Vietnam to address social problems and find innovative solutions to protect and manage water resources in the Mekong region.
During the first stage – Project Selection, the program attracted 30 registered teams, or more than 120 interested individuals. This signifies the program’s popularity and the participants’ interest in the topic.
In the second phase – Incubation, 10 exceptional projects were selected for in-depth problem-solving and solution development. The kick-off training webinar series took place over three days, from July 11-13, covering the innovation process, problem understanding, and prototyping & testing. The teams proposed solutions for protecting water resources and received guidance and training through weekly one-on-one meetings with advisors and experts. The MWC 2023 was delighted to have experts from diverse fields like Innovation, Artificial Intelligence, Finance and Investment, Agriculture, Environment, Community Development, and Art.
The third stage – Prototyping & Testing was the key phase to actualize ideas.
The three-month journey included over 12 hours of intensive training, 125 hours of one-on-one mentoring, and thousands of hours of fieldwork and product testing. The teams conducted extensive research, created breakthrough solutions, and developed highly applicable projects to solve water resource challenges in the Mekong Delta. The projects in the final round showed high potential for further development and contribution to urgent social issues.
The Competing Teams Made Their Mark with Quality and Unique Projects
The competing teams were divided into two groups: Ideation Track and Solution Track, working in various fields like solving water problems in agriculture, aquaculture, forecasting, and increasing awareness through artistic exhibitions. Ms. Tu Ngo, a jury member of the program, was inspired by the young people’s creative initiatives and practical technological solutions for the water difficulties in the Mekong Delta.
At the Demo Day, a total prize of up to 10,000 USD, sponsored by Nuoc Solutions, was awarded to the top three teams. The Save Water team won the highest prize of 115,000,000 VND with the ecological agriculture project “Mekoxa.” The runner-ups “V-Biotechnology” and “Mekoko” also demonstrated their tireless efforts. Their awards of 69,000,000 VND and 45,000,000 VND will motivate them to continue their projects and make a greater societal impact.
The Mekong Water Challenge is proud to be recognized as an exceptional incubation program aimed at addressing water issues in the Mekong Delta region. As the program concludes, Fulbright is pleased to have provided valuable experiences to the participating teams and looks forward to fostering an ecosystem where young people can contribute to their communities and region.
About the Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation (CEI)
The CEI, Fulbright University Vietnam’s first center, aims to instill the spirit of entrepreneurship and innovation at the heart of the Fulbright culture and training program. CEI offers various entrepreneurship and innovation training events to Vietnam and the region for Fulbright students and other communities, including students, experts, entrepreneurs, and enterprises. CEI plans to expand its collaboration with Fulbright University Vietnam, nurturing and supporting business development to quickly discover solutions for major challenges facing Vietnam and the region.