Highly Commended by UNESCO at World Engineering Day – A Young Deakin Founder’s Story
Young engineers competition
The winner of this competition was set to present at the UNESCO HQ in Paris this March. Unfortunately, the event had to be cancelled due to the COVID-19 and declaration of a global pandemic. Despite the turn of events, Samuel was notified by UNESCO that his project had been shortlisted, and even though Paris wasn’t in the picture this year, they might get back in touch with him in the future with an opportunity to present his project elsewhere. The overall winner from the competition was Ms. Aida Rafat from Imperial College, London, who led a project that sought to reduce textile waste and reduce pollution from textile dyeing technologies.
Samuel Alexander is an Indonesian international undergraduate student who is active in the DIY and robotics community, often participating in robotic competitions and tech events. In 2018, at age 17, he co-founded Samytronix with his younger brother, Nicholas Patrick, with a mission to introduce STEM and coding to more students. We still recall Samuel dropping by the SPARK Deakin office for a mentoring session in 2019. We knew immediately that our job was to back him on his entrepreneurial journey. We found out about the competition in February, and immediately forwarded the opportunity to all the engineering entrepreneurs we knew at Deakin, including Samuel.
When Samuel read up on the competition criteria, he immediately recognised the alignment his startup had with UN Sustainable Development Goal 4: Quality Education. “I directly registered for the competition and wanted to use this opportunity to share Samytronix with the world”, Samuel said.
“The projects were judged on the impact of the project on achieving one or more of the targets underlying the UN SDGs, the leadership and contribution of the author, and the level of innovation in addressing the underlying problem.
More than 400 young engineers from more than 70 countries, including some from the leading engineering universities of the world, showcased their projects to advance sustainable development through engineering as part of this competition aligned with UNESCO World Engineering Day.” (UNESCO WED, 2020).
On the impressive list of highly commended projects, Samuel’s project is listed for its contribution to SDG 4: Making Education in Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) more accessible.
Samuel said that he was thrilled to represent Deakin University and be among the 17 highly commended projects from top universities like Imperial College London, Stanford, and Cambridge. He also hopes that this win will help him get his work published at the UN STI (Science, Technology, Innovation) event in New York.
When we asked Samuel what was next for Samytronix, he said “by the end of this year, Samytronix will start a crowdfunding campaign and make our product available to pre-order worldwide. By the start of 2021, we will begin our mass production and ship our product internationally. Samytronix will also keep collaborating with more schools, companies, and non-profits to help deliver our products and services to a broader range of users.”
For fellow young founders and entrepreneurs who wanted to initiate their startup, dare to start small, but don’t be afraid to grow big. Everything requires a process; the key is to be patient and work hard.
— Samuel Alexander
A message to young founders
“My message for Deakin students is you should be brave to try out different opportunities and keep learning beyond what is taught in the classroom. Think of yourself as more than just a “student”, start building your network and get yourself out in the real world.
And for fellow young founders and entrepreneurs who wanted to initiate their startup, dare to start small, but don’t be afraid to grow big. Everything requires a process; the key is to be patient and work hard. I also highly recommend joining the workshops, events, or book a mentoring session offered by SPARK Deakin as they have really good programs designed to help you kickstart your entrepreneurship journey.” (Samuel Alexander, 2020).
Well said, Samuel!