Anarsaikhan Tuvshinjargal ’23 and Nara Enkhtaivan ’22, both natives of Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, recently won first place for their NOVA platform in the Swat(tiny)Tank competition — a slightly modified version of the annual SwatTank. The event was changed to accommodate the move to a virtual space and scaled back to its core essentials: a pitch competition where student teams presented their ideas for new and innovative businesses with a focus on communication.
Participants still submitted a project template in the first round, and finalists were chosen to pitch their final ideas to a panel of judges by the end of April.
The winning web-based application, NOVA, makes exclusive college-preparation consultation accessible and affordable for all students in Mongolia. It pinpoints a student’s current learning contexts and optimizes a roadmap to coach them through the steps to prepare for overseas college applications. The platform provides foreign language courses, application essay review, and private counseling.
In the short pitch presentation, Tuvshinjargal and Enkhtaivan described educational justice and resource accessibility as a fundamental motif of the business project and outlined a promising platform to advance their mission.
“The judges were impressed by how clearly and articulately they defined the problem that high school students were having when looking to apply to schools abroad,” says Katie Clark, assistant dean of integrated learning and director of the Center for Innovation and Leadership (CIL).
Second place belonged to Project Offset, created by Atticus Maloney ’22, Edward Tranter ’22, and Matthew Neils ’22. The project brings universities and local carbon-offsetting projects together onto a single platform, while integrating the stakeholder community into an online market space.
The CIL supported participants in forming ideas, discovering customers, and pitching workshops, as well as through personalized consulting sessions from mentor Matt Garmur ’01, an engineering director at Facebook. Although Swat(tiny)Tank was a bit smaller this year, students were assessed rigorously on developing and articulating an impactful business idea in a five-minute pitch.
“When we started planning for SwatTank this year, we had to ask ourselves what was the most important aspect of the process,” says Clark. “We decided to focus on the formation of an idea and the ability to pitch that idea to a panel of judges to receive feedback. Students were given a menu of options as far as meetings, programs, and online modules to choose from as they prepared their pitches.”
Student teams were assessed on six areas of business report — problem statement, market segment, mission, idea, customer, and next steps — as well as the conceptualization and creativity of the pitch presentation.