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Mahidol University Students Win Lazada’s Inaugural Young Entrepreneur Challenge 2020, Beating Out 119 Other Teams

GRA(TI)TUDE, a team of four students from Mahidol University International College won first prize in Lazada Thailand’s inaugural Young Entrepreneur Challenge 2020, winning THB50,000 in cash and a chance to compete on the global stage. The students are: Miss Sathonthorn Sooksawee, Miss Parnpunthong Wanathong, Miss Sushaya Sukmanus and Mr. Apichai Leelakraisorn. They are fourth-year students from the Faculty of Business Administration (BBA).

The competition, which saw participation by 120 teams nationwide, was organized by Lazada Thailand in collaboration with CCN Partner, Alibaba’s local GET channel partner. Coming in at second place and winning THB30,000 are Thoranee, a team of five students from Mahidol University International College and in third place, COZY, a team of three students from Khon Kaen University, who received THB20,000.

All three winning teams will also be eligible to compete in the Alibaba GET Global Challenge 2020: Digital Entrepreneurship and Innovation event, which is set to take place online on August 25, 2020. Organized by Alibaba Business School and targeted at students from tertiary institutions from 14 markets worldwide, the global competition aims to empower the next generation of entrepreneurial talents to contribute to the post Covid-19 world by creating transformative digital solutions in collaboration with mentors and partners from the Alibaba network.

Mr. Jack Zhang, CEO of Lazada Thailand, said: “I want to congratulate the winners and all participants for their hard work in the past several months of the competition, which has seen many entrepreneurial and innovative solutions applied to real-life e-commerce challenges. We are heartened by the overwhelming response that this six-month program has received, as well as the talent, passion and enthusiasm demonstrated by these students, who will be the future of Thailand’s growing digital economy.”

Lazada Young Entrepreneur Challenge 2020 launched in February to find and nurture young tech-savvy and entrepreneurial talent studying in tertiary institutions. More than 120 teams from 30 universities across the country joined the competition. As part of the national round, each participating team was required to start a digital venture on the Lazada Thailand platform. Lazada University and the Alibaba GET Network provided participants with weekly online training sessions throughout the period of April to June, deepening their knowledge on e-commerce topics ranging from digital transformation, identifying and attracting online customers, livestreaming, data analysis to pitching for investment and more. At the same time, challenges took place in May and June.

The winners were selected by a panel of judges based on the quality of their business plans, how they performed for each challenge and how their online store performed on Lazada.

The winning team impressed judges with their project, GRA(TI)TUDE, which sold crispy potato chips under the brand of Munspak. Munspak stood out with its famous local flavors, such as Hatyai fried chicken, which uses potatoes grown in Hat Yai, Songkhla Province as ingredients and helps add more value to the local produce. The unique local flavors of these potato chips were the factor behind their sales of 300 packets in one month. In addition, by collaborating with six local potato farms, the team also helps Thai farmers who have suffered from disruptions from the Covid-19 outbreak to establish a sustainable sales channel for their fresh produce and have an additional source of income.

Miss Sathonthorn Sooksawee, representative from GRA(TI)TUDE team, said: “This competition allowed us to do real business. We found that there was a lot more to doing business than we thought. We had to do everything ourselves, from designing attractive photo shots for our product, putting interesting descriptions, designing our shop to delivering products on time, always giving quick response to customers and more importantly, closing the deal. We worked very hard in every process, from production, selling on Lazada and preparing business plan. The minute we were announced the winner, we felt that our hard work had paid off. The tiredness just disappeared.”

“With the success of this year’s Lazada Young Entrepreneur Challenge, we hope to have more such initiatives to train and nurture young aspiring entrepreneurs who will build thriving online businesses that will power Thailand’s e-commerce industry. We are glad to offer a platform where they can hone their skills, and put into practice what they have learned. We believe that these experiences will serve them well in a rapidly digitalizing world,” Mr. Zhang concluded.

The Alibaba GET Network was initiated in 2018 as an extension of Alibaba’s GET program which, to date, has benefitted 80 education partners and trained more than 300 lecturers and over 13,000 students and other participants from Australia, India, Israel, Mongolia, Malaysia, Thailand, Turkey, South Korea, Singapore and China.

For more details about the global competition, please visit: https://bit.ly/2RyIzs8