SU Students Combat Fake News at the SJIM-Albers Business Plan Competition (and win!)

February 1, 2019

Pictured (from left to right): (Keisha Lugito, Kyle Yoo, and Anne Transier)

 

 What made you decide that you wanted to participate in the SJIM-Albers Business Plan Competition?

The topic was interesting: it was on how to combat fake news on a global scale, which is a very open topic. It is also interesting because you don’t think the topic can translate into something that’s very sustainable for a business, and there’s no real solution. This vagueness gave us the confidence of, “we can’t be wrong, so why not try!”

 Tell us about your business, MedFut.

MedFut is a shortened name for “Media for the Future,”

MedFut is an online platform that helps educate students identify factual news, and helps incorporate it into their courses through academic resources; it really helps distill what is true information. It is meant to be used by educational institutions and schools to provide for their students. The system flags information that it thinks is considered fake news. MedFut makes sure all of your sources are authentic, and prevents dangerous websites from accessing your computer, like viruses. You could either download the software into your browser, or you can log on to the website itself, and there it would act as a search engine. Students would be given the opportunity to purchase the software individually at a discounted price upon graduation.

Depending on where school and their careers take them over the next few years, the team may want to pursue putting MedFut into full action.

What were some of your biggest challenges in this competition? How did you overcome them?

One of the biggest challenges from working with our Indian counterparts was to really understand where they are coming from and their market. We have a different market here in the US, so whatever solution we came up with had to fit into both worlds.

Another large challenge was all of the miscommunication that comes from being on a virtual team. We would communicate over WhatsApp, but the language barrier was a little rough at some times. We had only two phone calls, and each time it was only with one person.

It was a good experience overall, and it has helped us learn how to overcome some obstacles that we will definitely face again in our careers; it has better prepared us for the future. It was lots of fun, we would do it again!

Despite the challenges we faced in the process, it was really worth it in the end.

What were the most rewarding aspects of the competition?

In the competition, we were able to use information we have learned in class and apply it to our business, as well as really refine our researching skills. The process taught us how to write a business proposal, and showed us what a proper business presentation looks like. We have also built relationships that we wouldn’t have been able to before (including having new friends on Facebook!), and we will be able to use these relationships in the future!

What advice would you give to a student who wants to enter the SJIM-Albers Business Plan Competition in the future?

Be prepared to work late at night and remember it is on top of your regular school work. But it’s worth it!

Be assertive in your idea, because ideas are worth sharing. Also, learn to be flexible with your team. By doing this, we definitely have improved all of our communication skills.

Be spontaneous in your ideas. You never know which one will take off, and that take off could be the start of something big for you (like a career)!