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Inspired by PM, Bengaluru schoolgirls develop mobile App; bags $10,000

By Dr Anantha Krishnan M

Inspired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi's series of initiatives, five girl students from Bengaluru made India proud by becoming world-beaters at the Technovation Challenge 2015 held at San Francisco last week.

Team Pentechan, - all 9th standard students (14 years old), from the New Horizon Public School (NHPS) reached the summit at the global pitch and bagged $10,000 as seed funding to further in developing their mobile App. And, the App's jingle -- Why thrash it, when you can cash it-- too has caught the world's attention now.

Bengaluru school girls who developed mobile app

Technovation Challenge is the world's largest and longest technology competition in the world organized in partnership with Adobe Foundation, CA Technologies, Google, Verizon, United Nations Women, UNESCO and MIT Media Lab.

Team Pentechan's mobile App named Sellixo (means waste in Portugese) from Pentechan, was chosen as the topnotch technology innovation during the grand finale and the awards ceremony held on June 25.

Bengaluru school girls who developed mobile app

During the finals, the students pitched their App and business plans in front of a panel of leading female technology executives.

Speaking to OneIndia, NHPS official said that the App stands as a testimony to three pet projects of PM Modi -- Swachh Bharat Mission, Digital India and Save the Girl Child initiatives.

Through Sellixo you can buy, sell dry waste

Sellixo is an android mobile application which provides an online marketplace for users to buy and sell dry waste. It targets the following customer segments: dry waste producers like small shopkeepers and apartment associations, dry waste collectors (raddiwaalas) and recycling agencies.

Sellixo incentivizes roadside shops to properly dispose their dry waste by making the disposal profitable.

Bengaluru school girls who developed mobile app

"The event is an entrepreneurship programme for girls and it is aimed at inspiring the next generation of young women entrepreneurs. Our team comprised of Sanjana Vasanth, Anupama N, Mahima Mehendale, Swasthi P Rao and Navyashree B," says Dr Mohan Manghnani, Chairman, New Horizon Educational Institutions (NHEI).

"We are slowly but surely getting to know the significance of this win by our students. In addition to keeping our school flag flying high, it has branded Team India. These children have been eager to innovatively value-add to our Prime Minister's vision," Dr Mohan told OneIndia.

The school has announced Rs 25,000 each to all five girls and they have been declared as the brand ambassadors for the institutions. "Today, they visited each and every class and shared their experience of becoming world-beaters. I am very confident that their achievement will inspire many students in India prompting them towards nation-building," says Dr Mohan.

Bengaluru school girls who developed mobile app

New Horizon had had recently donated Rs 5 crore towards Swachh Bharat Mission during PM Modi's recent visit to Bengaluru.

Sandhya Raman, Principal, NHPS, says that her students made the whole of India proud. "This is not just any win. This victory signifies a triumph of girl power, team work. I am delighted that the girls have put the technology to a great cause in saving environment and adding value to the Swachh Bharat Mission. These are the precise values we try to inculcate in the students at NHPS," says Sandhya Raman.

Girls have set their eyes on App's future

The students began the process of developing the App in January this year with the able guidance of their mentor from Goldman Sachs.

The girls fine-tuned their skills in business planning, marketing, communication, technology research and leadership. Over 400 teams from 64 countries participated in the Technovation Global Challenge event and only 10 teams made it to the finals.

With the coveted crystal trophy, the world-beaters landed at Kempe Gowda International Airport (KIAL) late on June 27 night, and was given a massive reception organized by the parents and teachers.

The students say they will now graduate from the prototype stage to implementation level. They are also planning to add more features to the App and eventually want it to be converted to various mobile platforms.

High-five quotes from Bengaluru's shining stars

The event was a great exposure for us. It taught me how to deal with unexpected situations. -- Sanjana Vasanth

The event has made me into a better speaker now. Team work and technology chasing was at its best. -- Navyasree B

I got an opportunity to learn the business models. It was great to learn new set of skills. -- Swasthi P

I overcame the stage fear. Now I can face any situation and face any problem. We are truly world-beaters now. -- Mahima Mehendale

It was a great experience to meet some many people all devotees of technology. -- Anupama N

(The writer is a seasoned aerospace and defence journalist in India. He is the Consultant Editor (Defence) with OneIndia. He tweets @writetake.)

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