They say the best teacher is experience. As a team, we proved such a phrase to be true with our experiences with the Tech Under Twenty Cup. In fact, inexperience was arguably one of our greatest characteristics when starting out as Team Bumi. In the beginning, however, we didn’t even know what “Bumi” meant, let alone create a team named after it. At the time, we were simply four teenagers yet to finish the first half of Grade 9, each attending different high schools in Oakville. We had all met at our elementary school in the years prior. At the beginning of the school year, Madhav was able to join a Tech Under Twenty chapter offered at Iroquois Ridge High School. He learned that Tech Under Twenty was an organization striving to provide youth in Halton with opportunities to find success in both technological and entrepreneurial fields. There, he was told about a Technology and Business competition known as the Tech Under Twenty Cup. Madhav was told that he should find a team composed of people he felt comfortable with and would work well with. That day, he reached out Rhea, Sofia, and myself. Just like that, our team had been formed. Together, we were eager to tackle issues and challenges which we had yet to be exposed to.

Now came the process of preparing for the Tech Under Twenty Cup. For the competition, we had been tasked with developing a pitch for a start-up company that used technology to fight climate change, along with a prototype of that technology. As inexperienced as we were when it came to product development, start-ups, pitch competitions, and the seemingly endless plethora of other things we would need for the Cup, we were determined to achieve success. Thankfully, Tech Under Twenty offered a mentor system in which our team would be matched with advisors that could help us develop our project. We were fortunate enough to receive help from Heidi and Ben, both of whom were incredibly helpful in brainstorming ideas and, later on, creating our pitch.

Like any project, our journey began with us deciding on an idea. As plentiful as our brainstorming lists became, we quickly came to two conclusions. Firstly, we knew that a mobile app would be the most efficient method of reaching as many consumers as possible. To be completely honest, you could argue that our absence of experience concerning app development made it easier to simply imply that we would build an app without knowing of the true challenges that would present. Secondly, we knew that we wanted to deal with personal awareness regarding global warming. We realized how little we actually knew about our own carbon footprint. We felt that if people had access to specific data about their carbon emissions (in the form of a mobile app), they would be more inclined to consider solutions that reduced that ecological impact. When it came time to decide on a name for our project, we looked for something short and simple, yet meaningful. One of us thought of the idea using a word from a foriegn language. At some point, we came across the term for Earth in Indonesian, bumi. I guess you could say it stuck, as we ended up using it as the name for our project and team.

The weeks that followed consisted of sessions in which we created a business plan and pitch for Bumi, an app that pulled a user’s vehicle data to present their carbon emissions in a clear and easily accessible manner. Bumi would also allow users to compare their progress with their friends’, further encouraging them to progress through the app and reduce their impact on the environment. To make this idea a reality, a few resources proved to be considerably helpful. Along with Heidi and Ben’s guidance, online tools such as Canva and Wix allowed us to create visual representation of the app.

As for the functioning prototype we needed for the competition, we refused to let our lack of experience prevent us from creating what we envisioned Bumi to be. I was able to learn how to use web development software and an IOS developer program to display a demo UI that I created on my phone, simulating a mobile app. 

Overall, we felt prepared for the competition and we looked forward to sharing our product with the participants and judges.

By: Libane Leo Hersi