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From Mexico's 10 Young Innovators aged below 35 the most outstanding is Víctor Manuel Serdio Villareal, because he was chosen as 2015 Innovator of the Year on the strength of his project to develop microchips used for early detection of cancer.
The idea of nanomanufacturing transistors which were smaller, faster and cheaper came about through a conversation with his partner, who works in a biotech company. His partner suggested Victor use protein sensor nanostructures. The proteomics revolution now allows us to obtain more information about diseases through proteins — measuring from five to 15 nanometers — with structures which can interact with them. Serdio and his team are the only ones who can interact with them.
“This is not a pipe dream. We've been working on it for years. At the end of this year or the start of the next we will be reaching the proof of concept stage, and from then on we will be ready to receive major investments. This means we will be able to characterize not only one protein, but several of them, and thus be able to make a specific diagnosis”, the young Innovator of the Year says hopefully.
Serdio explains that he had a good time taking part in the Younger than 35 Innovators Awards, and not only did he enjoy himself but the competition also encouraged him to work hard. “I want to get back to the lab and put all my energy into this project”, he added after receiving his award.
In his opinion, entrepreneurs have to specialize on the things they are good at and let others do the other parts of the project. Serdio stressed that entrepreneurship is multi-disciplinary. For example, you can do research, but perhaps through cooperating with different experts in their respective areas, new ideas can be created.
Marco Antonio Trujillo Tejeda, head of innovations in Sunu, won the Social Innovator of the Year award. Marco tells us that his interest in assistive technologies and disabilities developed in a blind girls' school in Guadalajara (Jalisco). There, his partner worked with a prototype which used electrical impulses, later modified to vibrations in a bracelet worn by the blind children.
“It has taken four years to develop this project, which began as a social service. A year and a half ago, we gave a series of presentations about the device to the girls' parents, and they decided it was very useful. At that point, the device stopped being a project and it has become a product which is very helpful for these schoolchildren”, he says.
Trujillo says that it is difficult to be an entrepreneur because you are always swimming against the tide: there are thousands of variables and you don't always have the knowledge you need. He thus feels very proud indeed to have his efforts acknowledged by such important institutions. “Efforts for these kinds of events are good for connecting and seeking motivation, to awaken the latent innovation which is repressed in all of us. I feel honored that they consider me to be an example for others to follow”.
The entrepreneur urged other young people to try out and validate his ideas, because ideas are only good once people have confirmed that they are valuable. “You have to knock on doors, show the beneficiaries their development is valuable, with those people's support it is less easy to be discouraged and you can make your project a reality”.
Acknowledging young entrepreneurs
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) first published "Technology Review" 110 years ago, and since then, this technology and innovation journal has become essential reading material. Every year, the journal organizes a competition for the most innovative entrepreneurs under 35, who have the greatest innovative potential.
"Technology Review", in conjunction with BBVA Bancomer and the Inter-American Development Bank, awards prizes to these innovators with the general aim of turning this group of innovators into the largest community of technological developers. According to Pedro Moneo, the editor of the Spanish version of "Technology Review", this field has huge potential.
Entrepreneurs had three minutes to present their projects:
Ramón Bacre: His biotechnological fertilizers fight climate
Carlos Bernal: A sensor placed within the toilet monitors diabetics' glucose levels every time they urinate.
Peter Bloom: His organization facilitates access to mobile telephony in isolated indigenous
Eva Hernández: Her low-cost test strips detect vaginal infections by non-invasive
David Leal: He has created a machine that eliminates the toner from printed pages by laser and the paper to be reused.
Edgar Rodríguez: He has designed a condenser that extracts water from air moisture without electricity.
Víctor Serdio: His chips with nanometric sensors detect individual proteins associated with cancer.
Elena Soaje: She has invented an educational drone that is built using Lego pieces and is controlled a smartphone.
Marco Trujillo: His smart bracelet will serve as a guide for blind people.
Sharon Velásquez: Her biosensor detects fecal contamination in water intended for human use.