A competition inspires students to think creatively

Published on May 15, 2020

Students pitch ideas to reimagine home buying

Thanks to industry partners and crowdfunding donors, 12 student teams from a variety of programs competed at the Mawji Centre Innovation Challenge in March. As part of the challenge, the students were tasked with reimagining the home buying process. 

"Our students never cease to amaze me.  I was amazed at the calibre of projects submitted for this year," says Cecile Wendlandt, coordinator at the Mawji Centre. "We had a higher percentage of team submissions and students really set the bar high for themselves."  

First place winners Marcel Figueiredo Araujo and Jaafar Alkhayr Allah thought about how they could cater to the millennial market. That's when they explored the idea of the “shared economy" for home buyers. The business model, made popular by companies like Uber and Airbnb, offers homeownership with the flexibility of renting. (You can learn more by watching their video.)

“We dedicated many hours to this project.”

To complete the Innovation Challenge, students had to work quickly and remotely – the campus cancelled in-person classes due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The team  rose to the challenge and collaborated online through video chats and email in the weeks leading to the pitch event.

“It was a challenge and it took a lot out of us,” says Araujo. “We dedicated many hours to this project.”

When they heard they took home first place, they were glad they put in the time and effort. The team says they are grateful to the competition's sponsor Raptor Mining and  crowdfunding donors who raised $3,000  last November.

“I want to say thank you for the help you gave to us as students.”

“I want to say thank you for the help you gave to us as students,” says Araujo. “It is quite an investment in students who are willing to put in the time and effort as they are learning in school.”

See more  award-winning presentations from the NAIT Innovation Challenge.