• Roberta Elizondo founded Travelers with Cause to promote responsible tourism and create social impact in vulnerable communities
  • Tanzania’s David Denis, founder of waste management firm CutOff Recycle, and Camilo Salinas from Colombia, founder of Residia, a residential community management tool, placed second and third respectively
  • GSEA’s top 38 global finalists, chosen from 1,200 applicants and over 100 competitions, battled for the top prize from 4 – 6 May

7 May 2021, Washington, DC: Roberta Elizondo, founder of Travelers with Cause and Power MBA student, was named the 2021 Global Champion by the Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO) Global Student Entrepreneur Awards (GSEA).

In 2021, GSEA received over 1,200 applications from across the world and hosted over 100 competitions in 38 countries to determine the international finalists. The 38 most promising student entrepreneurs competed virtually at this year’s Global Finals from 4 – 6 May. Student entrepreneurs representing Ireland, Tanzania, Panama, Colombia, Mexico, and the United States America were the global finalists and ultimately battled for the top prize.

Jessica Nunez, Chair of EO’s Global Student Entrepreneur Awards, said, “Innovating, building, and managing a business is a feat in and of itself. These students do it alongside an academic career and during a pandemic. I am inspired by the innovative and resourceful thinking, maturity, and ambition of all our competitors as they strive to make the world a better place. I would like to congratulate all the finalists and wish them continued success on their entrepreneurial journeys.”

As the global champion, 25-year-old Roberta Elizondo won a cash prize of US $25,000, in addition to mentorship, business development support, and access to EO’s 15,000+ network of entrepreneurs to help her thrive. Elizondo is the founder of Travelers with Cause, a business that seeks to transform the tourism industry after being inspired by the lessons learned through her own personal travels. Currently operating trips that contribute to sustainable development in over 30 countries, her goal is to eliminate social barriers and foster a new generation of conscious and empathetic travellers.

GSEA Global Champion Roberta Elizondo says, “GSEA is the beginning of a great adventure, it made me believe in myself, will make my team stronger, provided support from the greatest entrepreneurs, and gave me a network of excellent people who I am sure will keep making this world a better place! I am so grateful for this incredible experience.”

Additional winners

This year’s second and third place winners are:

  • David Denis of Tanzania, founder of CutOff Recycle, won the second-place prize of US $10,000. CutOff Recycle employees over 100 people and helps reduce hair waste pollution.
  • Camilo Salinas of Colombia, founder of Residia, was awarded the third-place prize of US $5,000. Residia is a multiplatform application with over 15 functionalities to facilitate internal processes and ensure effective communication in residential communities.

GSEA also presents awards to studentpreneurs that demonstrate exceptional ambition and innovative solutions to global issues. This year’s winners are:

  • Together We Grow Award, for the student who demonstrates a commitment to encouraging growth and well-being among fellow competitors
    • Ambula Gopi Raja of India, founder of Drone Raja, a fertilizer- spraying drone, for his perseverance and shining example during India’s time of crisis. Ambula was unanimously elected by his peers for the award.
  • The Community Social Impact Award, for the student most passionate about making a social impact in their local community
    • Aruzhan Amanbaeva, Kazakhstan, for Tne Soul Education, which provides courses to help children develop and foster increased interaction with parents.
  • The Global Social Impact Award, for the student striving to make a social impact through their business on a global scale
    • Selen Şenal, Turkey, for Algae Biodiesel which produces carbon negative biofuels from wastewater, reducing emissions thanks to superior carbon capture technology.
  • The Innovation Award, for a business that changes the way we experience the world
    • Lianna Genovese, Canada, for Guided Hands, an assistive device that enables anyone living with limited hand dexterity to write, draw and paint, type and scroll, on a tablet, phone, or computer.
  • Lessons from the Edge Award for the recognition of a student’s perseverance and strength in overcoming a serious obstacle
    • Seavpor Tang, Cambodia, for, a platform that connects household services experts to clients, for traveling enormous distances each week to run his business.
  • Pivot Award, for the student’s adaptability and creative response to the Covid-19 crisis
    • Charles de Belen, Philippines, for contact tracing platform EndCoV and his chatbot, Bantay, a crucial feature of the application.

About GSEA

The Global Student Entrepreneur Awards (GSEA) are the premier global competition for students who own and operate a business while attending college or university. Nominees compete against their peers from around the world in a series of local and national competitions in hopes of qualifying for the GSEA Finals. The 2021 GSEA Global Finals hosted 38 ambitious ‘studentrepreneurs’ from all over the globe, who competed virtually for the top prize between 4 – 6 May. Along with prizes for the best student entrepreneurs, GSEA also uniquely recognises additional winners whose businesses offer exceptional contributions to society.

GSEA was founded in 1998 at the John Cook School of Business at Saint Louis University in Missouri, United States. Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO) took over the running of the program in 2006 and the programme has expanded from three participating countries to over 56.

This year, students from 38 countries competed for the winning prize ($25,000) and a chance to grow with help from EO’s 15,000+ strong member network. Competitors also receive feedback from members to sharpen their pitch and business strategy, and access to EO events.

About EO

The Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO) is a high-quality support network of 15,000+ like-minded leaders across 61 countries.  EO helps entrepreneurs achieve their full potential through the power of life-enhancing connections, shared experiences, and collaborative learning. EO has been helping entrepreneurs achieve transformational growth since 1987 and its member network is committed to learning and helping each other succeed.

For more information, please contact:

Kathryn Cyr, [email protected], +44 (0) 7490 160867