Kuala Lumpur, March 24th 2014 – Following the final idea pitching session with all five finalists for the first Global Impact Competition in Malaysia, Faisal Ariff emerged as the winner of the US$30,000 (RM99,000) sponsorship to Silicon Valley’s Singularity University for its Graduate Studies Program, as judged by a panel that included Minister of Youth and Sports YB Khairy Jamaluddin and Asia-Pacific Regional Ambassador for Singularity University Dr. Clarence Tan at the Mindvalley headquarters in Bangsar last Saturday.
The first Global Impact competition, which challenges applicants to come up with a feasible idea for a product or solution that creatively leverages technology and can impact at least 1 million citizens in the next 5 years, is also simultaneously held in 15 other countries including Italy, Netherlands, Brazil, Sweden and Turkey, all part of Singularity University’s initiative to work with nations to provide their top entrepreneurs and innovators with the resources needed to turn their global impact ideas into reality.
The Malaysian chapter of the first Global Impact Competition, organized by Mindvalley and sponsored by philanthropists Ayub Ali and Alyah Abdullah, opened in January 15th and closed on March 8th. Five finalists were selected out of over 70 qualified applications, and the competition culminated on March 22nd when they were asked to pitch to the judges and undergo a live “feedback and grilling” session from the panel: YB Khairy Jamaluddin, Dr. Clarence Tan, Mindvalley CEO and Founder Vishen Lakhiani, Dr. Mohamed Yunus Yassin (founder of Young Scientific Explorers and Young Scientific Discoverers), Carol Wong (CEO of Genovasi) and Brahmal Vasudevan (founder of Creador).
Faisal Ariff, a fund manager and active volunteer for Mercy Malaysia, was not even present at the event to pitch his idea in person or celebrate his win as he was at the tail end of an expedition in Antarctica (which he had also won from a competition). Instead, he had submitted a video presentation that he recorded to a background of glaciers and freezing weather and sent his older brother to represent him during the live Q&A with the judges, whom Faisal equipped with a long list of FAQs to secure his opportunity.
His idea, titled “Passport 2.0”, provides a simpler, safer and more efficient way to document and organize important travel data online, which can be accessed by immigration departments worldwide and provide peace of mind to governments by helping to prevent travel-related crimes and offering a more streamlined documentation process.
The other four finalists came close with their presentations and innovative ideas: David Chew for an efficient and economical electric quadricycle, Heislyc Loh for CoRate – a customizable and efficient online library, Charlie Soo for a drone surveillance system to increase crime solve rates, and Ganesh Murrurti for an affordable solar-powered water filtration unit.
On the judges’ unanimous decision, Dr. Clarence Tan insists on not just credibility but also personality. “We don’t only look at the idea proposed but also the person. Faisal essentially has proven himself by having a great career portfolio and for his contribution to charitable causes (through his volunteer work with Mercy Malaysia). I think this is a fantastic opportunity for someone of his caliber to show Malaysia’s multicultural lifestyle to 80 classmates from around the world (in Singularity University), who are perhaps going to be the most amazing people that he will ever meet.”
“Faisal had the package – the presentation, the idea, the passion, and he had thought of and researched the difficulties in executing his idea. It’s not easy to get governments to work together and obviously Passport 2.0 requires bureaucratic coordination,” said YB Khairy Jamaluddin.
But the young minister also feels that an initiative such as the first Global Impact Competition is important to inspire Malaysian youths to dream bigger. “The fact that five young men came forward today with brilliant ideas and excellent presentations is an indication that young Malaysians have it in them to contribute to this global shift in the way we do things, think about things and how we change our environment,” he added.