Scholar wins business pitch contest

Riddet Institute PhD student Aylin Sen is $500 richer after taking out one of this year’s Massey University Pitch. ME 60-second video pitch challenge prizes.

The elevator-style pitching competition is open all Massey University students and staff and must involve a unique and innovative idea. Aylin’s 60-second animation, with voice over, featured a mechanical sunflower that analyses soil and climate conditions for farmers. The product prototype is being developed by Aylin and her brother Aydin in Turkey.

The mechanical sunflower is ‘planted’ into the soil and its self-charging ‘head’ rotates with the sun to collect data on everything from soil conditions to sunlight hours.

Aylin, who’s PhD research is in a completely unrelated plant-based oil body membrane materials, says the competition was a fun challenge and useful in terms of seeing if customers would actually be interested in the product.

The Pitch. ME competition is held by Massey University’s business incubator Ecentre.

The ten best pitches were each awarded $500 as seed funding to help bring their business idea or social enterprise into reality. The winners were announced in June.

It is not the first time Aylin has had competition success. In 2021 she was runner up and people’s choice in the Massey University Visualise Your Thesis Competition.

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