China wants more of its 2m+ overseas students to return home and start up businesses. CSSAUK's hi-tech challenge is a part of that and has a clutch of UK judges to help select the top ideas including guest blogger and Cambridge Angel, Peter Cowley.
Day 6. We're in Changshu, the main sponsoring city from last year, six times smaller than Wuxi (but still more populous than Birmingham!) and with a different feel.
Nineteen ideas judged in Wuxi:
• A Chinese multi-layer game
• Connecting students and mentors
• A social buying platform
• Cotton trading between Uganda and China
• Biomass CHP
• An automated insulin pump
• Industrial pipe cleaning using ice slush
• Battery production
• Windows NT in the cloud
• Fuel cells for personal use
• Getting Chinese students into UK education
• Stem cell distribution
• Cancer diagnosis
• Oxide dispersion alloys
• Protein data storage
• CAD modelling software
• African off-grid power
• Cleaning water using photo catalysts
From these we chose eight high tech and four general business finalists, where some were easy decisions and some took much deliberation. The finalists will pitch in London for cash and kudos.
Judging over, it must be time for a banquet! The Mao Tai flowed, Jack Lang was consulted (our resident food expert, having set up Midsummer House in Cambridge) and we were told that what looked like twice boiled pork scratchings was actually shark stomach.
An early dinner meant time for a wander into the sticky evening, six judges seeking a local bar without success, but the walk was welcomed.
Almost all teams have native Chinese speakers, but those that don't had to beg favours as the following day, all 12 finalists pitched to local officials in Chinese. The judges were spared and were treated to visits to local attractions including walking up an 87 metre pagoda (built in the 12th Century to provide the city with Feng Shui), with a frightening rickety guard rail around the top.
The most valuable session of the day was speed "dating" between eight judges and the 22 remaining teams. Much experience and opinion was imparted and another session scheduled for tomorrow.
A banquet where the students were told they could let their hair down (so most judges followed suit). Many toasts later and the group split into those that think they can Karaoke and those that know they can't. Video evidence on request.
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