Sustainable tea made from banana stems earns student entrepreneurs chance to study abroad at ASU

March 29, 2023

This spring, students from Universitas Esa Unggul in Indonesia won the first-ever ASU-Cintana Alliance International Student Competition, earning a scholarship to study abroad at Arizona State University this summer. 

Hosted by Cintana Education, Universitas Esa Unggul and the NorthCap University in New Delhi, India, the weeklong competition invited teams of university student entrepreneurs to develop a startup idea providing real-world solutions to any of the United Nation’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals. At the end of the week, each team presented their idea to a panel of expert judges, including Cintana Education president Rick Shangraw and Indian venture capitalists. The competition included students currently enrolled in universities partnered with Arizona State University and Cintana Education. Three students standing in front of a competition judge sitting at a table. The winning team of students from Universitas Esa Unggul present their startup idea to a panel of expert judges during the ASU-Cintana Alliance International Student Competition. Photo courtesy Global Academic Initiatives/ASU Download Full Image

Participants also attended four industry master-class sessions about entrepreneurship, gained firsthand experience at local industrial innovation hubs and explored local historical sites, including the Taj Mahal in Agra.

“It was a wonderful experience to be able to participate in the workshop and the competition,” said Muhammad Dhafi Iskandar, who mentored one of the teams. “We are eager to see what’s next for all the participants.”

The winning start-up idea went to students from Universitas Esa Unggul in Jakarta, Indonesia, who created “PePiPow,” a healthy tea beverage made from banana stems marketed to consumers in their 20s. The product aimed to reduce food waste and improve economic conditions for banana farmers.

Other participating teams came from Mapúa University in the Philippines, the NorthCap University in India and the University of Donja Gorica in Montenegro. Lorenzo Rosania from Universidad Internacional del Ecuador won the Young Achiever Award for outstanding presenter.

“It was amazing to be able to interact with students who have professional knowledge in so many different subjects,” Rosania said. “Being able to work, prepare a project and present with university students really helped me broaden my opinions and perspectives. Being able to share knowledge and experience with others from different countries was really wonderful.”

Each member of the winning team earned a scholarship to attend the second-annual ASU-Cintana Experience on campus at ASU this summer. The two-week experience, hosted by ASU Global Launch, provides a full campus immersion experience, including classes, lectures and other student experiences aimed toward finding sustainable and innovative solutions to global challenges.

“The ASU-Cintana Summer Experience helps students learn more about sustainability and innovation and develop skills that global employers have identified as critical, such as problem solving, teamwork, time management and resilience," said Dianna Lippincott, associate director of Global Launch. "Students in the summer experience will also develop their English skills, refine their business pitches and create global connections with other like-minded students. We are excited to welcome the winning student team from Universitas Esa Unggul and believe they will be an incredible asset to the program.” 

“Sustainable and innovative solutions are important not only to our planet, but also to us individually who live on this planet (and) who need more creative solutions on how to address climate change, sustainable economic issues, sustainable cultural issues and environmental issues that are pervasive across the globe,” Shangraw said. “We hope that competitions and initiatives like this continue to inspire the innovation needed to change the world for generations to come."

Samantha Talavera

Asst. Director, Global Marketing and Communications, Global Academic Initiatives

ASU welcomes international students for inaugural summer sustainability program

July 29, 2022

This July, Arizona State University welcomed 28 international university students to the Tempe campus to take classes, attend lectures, live on campus and experience student life in America as part of the inaugural two-week ASU-Cintana Sustainability and Summer Immersion program.

By the end of the program, students were inspired to return home with the confidence to fuel their academic and future careers and were equipped to tackle sustainable solutions in their own communities. A group of International Students from the ASU-Cintana Sustainability and Innovation Summer Immersion Program pose in front of Old Main. International students from the ASU-Cintana Sustainability and Innovation Summer Immersion Program pose by Old Main on the ASU Tempe campus in July. Download Full Image

The students came from schools around the world, including: CEIPA Business School in ColombiaUniversidad Latina de Costa RicaUniversidad International del EcuadorThe Northcap University in IndiaUniversitas Esa Unggul in IndonesiaUniversidad Autónoma de Guadalajara in MexicoMapua University in the Philippines and the University of Economics and Finance in Vietnam. Participants were selected from various Cintana Alliance universities, a network of international universities partnered with ASU and Cintana Education to provide educational innovations for students worldwide.  

Some of the students' favorite highlights from the visit included: a Dreamscape Learn demonstration, a tour of the Thunderbird School of Global Management at the Downtown Phoenix campus, a lecture with ASU sustainability Professor Ryan Johnson and a visit to the Grand Canyon.

The program culminated with students developing sustainable, real-world community solutions inspired by one of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals and presenting their findings to a group of representatives from ASU and Cintana Education.

“What made their ideas intriguing was how they contextualized them for a specific location and target population, recognizing that small changes can lead to significant impact,” said Christina Ngo, director of social embeddedness at the ASU Office of University Affairs. “(The students) added spice and flair, leveraging interesting and captivating presentation styles and approaches. My favorite presentations came from interdisciplinary teams of students who had subject-matter expertise in different fields.” 

During the closing ceremony, many expressed the affection they had for their new friends, remembered the memories they created and touched on how life-changing it was to learn alongside people from diverse cultures. They promised to remain in touch with one another and hoped to meet again soon through other programs. 

“I have met so many people from different parts of the world, and that is what made this experience the best,” said Daniela Hernandez from Universidad Internacional del Ecuador. “At the end of the day, what makes a place unforgettable is who surrounds you.” 

“In two weeks we became so united and such a close-knit group that I don’t know how I will return to Mexico now that the program is over," said Salvador Rodriguez from the Universidad Autónoma de Guadalajara. "This full experience made us a huge family, and now I know I don’t only have a home in Mexico, but I also have a home in Vietnam, Indonesia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Colombia, Philippines — everywhere.” 

Students said they were thankful to ASU for organizing such an enriching program, and to their universities and Cintana Education for giving them the opportunity to be part of such an incredible educational experience.

“Thank you, ASU, for giving me a lot of motivation to keep moving forward on my career path,” said Thu Dang from the University of Economics and Finance in Vietnam. 

“What a great inaugural program,” said Lois Malone, assistant director of special projects in the Office of Global Academic Initiatives. “The participants were so enthusiastic about the program, and they were a highlight of the summer. The quality, motivation, enthusiasm and diligence of the students was amazing and commented on by many ASU stakeholders that got to meet them.

"We're excited for future opportunities to inspire students and strengthen our partnerships with international universities through this program.”

The program was hosted by ASU Global Launch, with support from the ASU School of Sustainability, the School for the Future of Innovation in SocietyThunderbird School of Global Management, the School of Sustainable Engineering and the Built Environment and Food for the Hungry. For more information about the ASU-Cintana Alliance, please visit the ASU Global website.

Samantha Talavera

Asst. Director, Global Marketing and Communications, Global Academic Initiatives