Student’s Voice

Poster Award at the Second Business Competition for a Leading Doctoral Program

Can be seen at University Website

Prof. Kenji Irie (organizer of Appropriate Technology) and Arvin Lapiz Valderrama

On February 27, 2017, the second business competition for the leading doctoral program was hosted at Belle Salle Tokyo Nihonbashi by Tokyo Technology Institutes. Five groups from our program attended the competition. One of the teams, Technology for Broader Dimensions, which is composed of Mr. Arvin Lapiz Valderrama and Mr. Kotaro Sakamoto  got the poster award. HBP has gotten the award twice in a row since this completion was set up last year.

Comments from Arvin Lapiz Valderrama
During the competition, there were a lot of interesting projects like advanced AI robots for communication and low-cost life support system, where some have existing patents already. With these kind of competitors, I am a bit surprised that my project won the award because it was initially designed for the Appropriate Technology course so it was meant to be just simple and implemented without cutting-edge techniques. I wanted to improve public transportation, avoid unnecessary haste, and long waiting time of commuters by using a notification device to give real-time location of transport vehicles without using the internet. 
This simplified system aims to help even those who can’t read Japanese language, designed to be implemented before the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games, where an influx of people (both foreign nationals and Japanese) is expected. Business experts asked tough questions that made me think critically and they pointed out some improvement that could be implemented. Despite being simple and somewhat “low-technology”, the reviewers commended the idea’s uniqueness and affordability. One reviewer mentioned that from his long time of experience in a tech- company he never heard something like my idea and it can have many applications aside from transportation. It was quite a challenge to communicate as some of the reviewers requires translation, so I tried my best to simplify and organize my explanation, also the prototype demonstration helped a lot on making the judges understand what I wanted to do. Overall, the experience was very exciting and productive at the same time as some of the people we knew from the network of mentors and businessmen contacted us after the event for a possible collaborative project in the near future. I really believe that business plan competition is not only about winning the awards but ultimately making the business happen in real life.