School: Thammasat University, Thailand
When asked how they were feeling on the third day of the competition, the EzyTex team responded in unison: "Tired!"
On top of battling jet lag and answering difficult technical questions in a language they are still learning, this Thai team worked late into the nights to revise their PowerPoint presentation after each day's feedback. "I'm not sure when they slept," remarked consultant N.J. Pierce, one of the judges who saw EzyTex's presentation several times over the competition's three days.
One of the team's biggest challenges was to get across their concept in presentations for audiences unfamiliar with their industry: rubber. Ammonia, a toxic chemical, is used today to kill the bacteria that can rot rubber after it is tapped from trees. EzyTex has a substitute additive that is environmentally friendly and - unlike ammonia - not hazardous to the workers who handle latex rubber. After three years of running lab tests, the team is ready to start offering their product to customers. Thailand, known for its rubber production, is where the team plans to base its company.
"We went through 30 or 40 versions before we got to the one we presented today," says Nipon Tumkunarnon, EzyTex's chief marking officer. "And we'll do more modification before our launch due to the comments we got." -Emily Maltby