St Petersburg University has summed up the results of the annual ‘SPbU Start-up’ contest. The winner is the team Terroir Concept. They received a prize of 300,000 roubles and a grant of 1,000,000 roubles to establish a small innovative enterprise. They came up with an idea to develop software to select a location for planting grapevines depending on climate and the type of grapes.
The system aggregates meteorological data and the results of the agro-chemical analyses. This enables the calculation of the Terroir index, which is the term used to describe the soil and climate factors. These data enable us to determine crop yield and select the most favourable types of grapes to grow.
The start-up project primarily aims at establishing an agro-consulting enterprise that would focus on grapevine site selection and diagnostics of ecological factors, said the leader of the team.
Among the overarching priorities of the ‘SPbU Start-up’ contest is to: encourage students to manage and carry out applied research and R&D work; build up crossdisciplinary project groups that focus on solving wide-ranging tasks; and establish small innovative enterprises in partnership with the University. This is what the University’s Endowment Fund allocates funds to.
Elena Mishutina, Executive Director of the Endowment Fund ‘Development of St Petersburg University’
The team ProteoSensity took second place. They won 1,000,000 roubles. It includes: a prize of 200,000 roubles; a grant of 700,000 roubles to develop an enterprise; and an allowance of 100,000 roubles for the research supervisor. The team developed a hand-size device to detect heavy metal emissions and other emissions into the atmosphere by using a specially designed analytical technology.
Third place was taken by the team PreLife. They developed a functional beverage to decrease the concentrations of harmful molecules during pregnancy. The beverage decreases the unfavourable effect of molecules on a foetus and supplies minerals and vitamins to a pregnant woman. The team received a prize of 100,000 roubles as did their research supervisor.
The ‘SPbU Start-up’ contest was held for the sixth time in 2021 with the support of the University’s Endowment Fund. After the selection round, 12 business projects reached the semi-final round, with 7 out of 12 projects reaching the final round. For three months, all contestants received a monthly allowance of 10,000 roubles to develop their ideas.
‘Whatever you do, you need practice and you have to master your skills. This contest is a good start for early-career professionals. The participants can get high quality feedback from the experts in business. They also get an idea of how other teams develop their ideas into business,’ said Grigorii Kunis, a chairperson of the expert council, co-founder and manager of the iGooods company.