Students from Aarhus BSS in Herning win this year’s Innovation Award

Hussam Mansour and Szabolcs Nagy, who study Technology Based Business Development at Aarhus University in Herning, have just won the 2018 Innovation Award for their project ‘Smart recycling’. The award includes a cash prize of DKK 50,000 and a Springboard® session. The award was presented by Minister for Higher Education and Science Søren Pind at the Festival of Research at VIA University College.

From left: Hussam Mansour, Szabolcs Nagy and Søren Pind. Photo: Inge Lynggaard Hansen

“Innovation is a key driver in the development of our society. For this reason, it is a great pleasure to be in the company of students of such creativity and foresight.” 

This was the message from the Minister for Higher Education and Science when he presented this year’s Innovation Awards on 24 April as part of the national Festival of Research. In the course of the day, ten finalist groups were reduced to five, who then had to pitch their ideas in front of a professional jury. And here the two students from Aarhus University Hussam Mansour and Szabolcs Nagy, who are also the entrepreneurs behind the company Smart Recycling, were the most convincing. 

Intelligent waste management
The winning project consists of a sensor that measures the content of a waste container and issues an alert when the container is full.  This allows for a more efficient waste management, as the containers will only be emptied when they are full. This idea appealed to the jury.  

Apart from the honour, the first prize also comes with a professional Springboard® session and DKK 50,000. And the two students know exactly how to spend the money. 

“We want to reinvest the money in the company so that we can continue to develop and focus on reducing the production costs. We are the first company in Denmark to introduce this product,” says Hussam Mansour. 

However, the money is not the only thing that comes with the award. 

“We have had a lot of attention because of the award and this has led to a number of interesting enquiries. So we have already exchanged contact information with some important partners,” he says. 

Entrepreneurship and innovation at Aarhus University in Herning
Aarhus University in Herning has a strong entrepreneurial environment with the Business Factory, which offers the students a unique opportunity to work with innovation and entrepreneurship alongside their studies, and the Centre for Business Development, which is aimed at entrepreneurs with a digital business concept. 

And a digital business concept was exactly what prompted Hussam Mansour and Szabolcs Nagy to establish their company with the help of a start-up programme in the Centre for Business Development. The centre focuses on digital business development and digital technologies and specialises in counselling and developing digital entrepreneurs. 

In the start-up programme, the two award winners and other like-minded people receive counselling on the development of digital business models, fundraising, joint research publications and conference participation. In this way, the digital concepts of the entrepreneurs are developed strategically and receive the attention and financial backing necessary to secure the company’s success - in the short and long term. 

About the Innovation Award

  • The Innovation Award is an annual competition for all students on higher education degree programmes in Denmark.
  • The ten finalist projects have been selected on the basis of a professional jury and a Facebook poll in which more than 10,000 people participated.

This year’s jury members were

  • Daniel Christensen, who won last year’s award for the project Virtual Reality Rehabilitation
  • René Damkjær, Innovation Fund Denmark
  • René Dybdal, founder of the Innovation Award
  • Flemming Frandsen, Connect Denmark
  • Erik Hygum, Dean of the VIA Faculty of Education & Social Studies