Bengaluru, June 30, 2015: Five teenage girl students from Bengaluru won the Technovation challenge at a global pitch event at San Francisco city in the US.
Sanjana Vasanth, N. Anupama, Mahima Mehendale, Swasthi P. Rao and B. Navyashree, all aged 14, won the award for their app Sellixo which provides an online marketplace to buy and sell dry waste.
The girls said they were inspired by the prime minister's Swachh Bharat Mission, Digital India and Save the Girl Child initiative and embarked on "a challenge like this".
The girls beat 400 other teams from 64 nations to bag $10,000 on June 25 with their app, which caters to dry waste producers like small shopkeepers, dry waste collectors (raddiwalas), recycling agencies and others.
"In India, we have scrap dealers who go from house to house collecting waste. It is a tiring job, so we want to connect the buyers and sellers of dry waste," said team member Swasthi P. Rao.
"Once people know that they will get money for it, they will be motivated to actually collect it (dry waste), segregate it and dispose it properly," said B. Navyashree.
The girls competed under the team name Pentechan and pitched their idea to top female technology executives in the challenge organised by Adobe Foundation, CA Technologies, Google, Verizon, United Nations Women, UNESCO and MIT Media Lab.
The team plans to expand and add new categories of dry waste and geographies.
Pentechan started the app development process in January 2015 with the mentorship of Goldman Sachs company, and spent six months fine-tuning their business planning, marketing, communication, technology research and leadership.
Technovation is a technology entrepreneurship programme for girls which aims to inspire the next generation of young women entrepreneurs.