A bio-pesticide made from a combination of neem and “pungam” oil by students of Loyola College in Chennai, was the winning entry at a national competition for student entrepreneurs on Friday.
“As a result of the rampant farmer suicides in Tamil Nadu, we hit upon this solution for increasing yields with a bio-pesticide that acts both as a fertiliser and a pest repellant,” said Jayadev Sreekanth, one of the four-member team. Sreekanth and his other teammates, Naseeha Machingal, Theresa Minu Dominic and Gautham S, will represent India at the SIFE International competition for student entrepreneurs in Los Angeles in October.
The national competition organised by the Students In Free Enterprise, featured 16 regional winners, before the list was whittled down to the semi-finalists and then the winners.
“At SIFE we strive to create meaningful and sustainable businesses and groom budding leaders and entrepreneurs to make a significant contribution to the community and the country,” said Keshav R Murugesh, Chairman, SIFE India, in a press release.
The Loyala team were developing and marketing their product for the past three years in collaboration with the Etymological Research Institute in Chennai. “We have trained and created awareness among the farmers in areas of Southern Tamil Nadu and have also tried to ensure that they pass on what they have learnt to others as well,” said Sreekanth.