The student competition MENDELU Boost was won by the project Citymind: AI Assistant for Cities and Municipalitie

20. 6. 2024
The winner of the first edition of the MENDELU Boost student entrepreneurial competition was the project Citymind, which serves as an AI assistant for cities and municipalities. The second place was awarded to a project focused on identifying hidden risks and benefits on land properties. The third place was shared between two projects: the accessible use of drones in agriculture and the Bee Farm project. The university distributed a total of 150,000 CZK among the winners to support their projects. The first place winner received 60,000 CZK, the second place winner 40,000 CZK, and the two winning teams sharing the third place received 25,000 CZK each

We already have the project up and running and are currently celebrating our first customer. We would like to scale our solution, for which our team needs support, which we are very grateful for. We will reinvest the prize back into the company and use it to grow the team,” said Andrej Gono, the competition winner and a doctoral student studying at the Faculty of Business and Economics.

Second place was secured by Jan Karásek from the Faculty of Business and Economics. His project focuses on land aggregation, where he and his team explore hidden risks and benefits. “The first motivation for entering the competition was to gather additional feedback, which is valuable for further product development. The second motivation was the financial prize, which will help us allocate the time we need to create our minimum viable product,” explained Karásek.

Third place is shared by two team projects. The first team consists of Petra Sklář from the Faculty of Regional Development and International Studies and Michal Šebesta from the Faculty of Agronomy, focusing on the use of drones in agriculture. “It involves land mapping and subsequently creating prescription maps using software. This means eliminating the technological barrier between drones and farmers. Our focus is primarily on small farmers, helping to implement Agriculture 4.0 even for those who cannot afford or dedicate time to technology,” described Michal Šebesta. The finances awarded to the duo will be used for technical project support.

Another team that took third place is the duo Jakub Jakeš from the Faculty of Agronomy and Michaela Bařinová from the Faculty of Business and Economics. They applied with the Bee Farm project, which focuses on both bee product production and recreation/accommodation. “We want to educate people that insects are important in our country, and as their numbers are constantly decreasing, we must strive for their conservation. Given that I am from the Vysočina region and my colleague is from Moravia, we see a natural difference between these two regions. We aim to revive nature in Moravia to reduce the prevalence of monocultural blocks,” said Jakeš. They plan to invest the winnings into honey processing technology.

Some of the proposals were well-thought-out in depth, while others were just starting out. Nevertheless, all ideas have enormous potential and can certainly be further developed,” summarized judge Pavlína Adam. The expert panel included Monika Štěpánová, Pavlína Adam, and Lucie Synková from the Technology Transfer Office at MENDELU. External experts on the panel included Michal Hoření, who mentors student startups at the South Moravian Innovation Centre, and David Krobot from the natural cosmetics brand Lobey.

A total of 36 projects applied for the MENDELU Boost competition, with 34 advancing to the first round. Successful participants from the first round can apply for the continuation of the competition in the fall, competing for a total prize pool of 220,000 CZK.

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