Sohom Paul On Refining Your Idea for the FuturizeX Student Challenge

By Sohom Paul, FuturizeX 2015 Student Challenge Winner
Sohom Paul poses with his friends and family during the FuturizeX 2015 Student Challenge Awards Ceremony

Entrepreneurship is a dynamic means of identifying a real problem in the world. It involves producing an apt strategy to solve a problem, creating an optimal solution for that problem, and then executing that solution to perfection. The 2nd annual FuturizeX Student Challenge is an incredible platform for you to exercise the concepts of entrepreneurship. It isn’t merely a prize-winning competition, but an elaborate experience, which is hard to parallel. Presenting your idea to esteemed judges from UCLA, Google, the Office of Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, and the Goldhirsh Foundation and having the opportunity to meet brilliant minds from the Los Angeles entrepreneurial community is just the beginning of your FuturizeX experience.

Hi, my name is Sohom Paul and in February, I was humbled to have won and been a part of the 2015 FuturizeX Student Challenge. Before joining UCLA, I lived in India for over 7 years. As a cognizant individual, I quickly noticed the struggles of Indian farmers who weren’t able to support their families due to low crop yields that rooted from poor crop production techniques — in fact, it was reported that there were over 5,650 farmer suicides in India just in the year 2014! Motivated by these finding, I went on to pitch my idea for the FuturizeX Student Challenge. Little did I know, when submitting my idea, that it would help me win $4,000, a 3D printer, a consultation with Start-Up UCLA and a VIP tour of SpaceX headquarters!

So what was my idea? My solution (in a nutshell) is a recommendation-based, advisory system that incorporates sensors, big data technologies and drones to optimize the process of crop production. When identifying a problem, the imminent world food crisis stood out to me. At the rate our population is growing, we would need to increase crop production by 70% or our population would experience a severe food shortage by 2050. Scary, right?

When you’re starting to develop “the” idea for this year’s challenge, remember — there aren’t any magical ideas that will solve all the greatest problems in Los Angeles. There are however, innovative ideas that can realistically be executed to make a great impact. Make sure you refine your solution well enough to answer any questions from the panel of judges and have a straightforward pitch that shows why your idea is the best to solve your identified problem in Los Angeles.

If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to me here: Good luck prospective winners! ☺

Sohom Paul, BA ’19 is an Economics major at UCLA, and was a grand prize winner of the FuturizeX 2015 Student Challenge, along with Mitchell Zia and Jonathan Massachi.

See Sohom’s winning idea here. Bruins, now it’s your turn. Are you the next winner? Submit your entry.