The Entrepreneurs' Organization (EO) is committed to helping entrepreneurs at every stage achieve their full potential. One way we encourage and support young entrepreneurs is through the EO Global Student Entrepreneur Awards (GSEA), EO's premier competition for college and university students who own and operate a business. The competition culminates with the Global Finals--held virtually this year--where "studentpreneurs" from 50 countries compete and make connections with both seasoned entrepreneurs and their fellow competitors. The 2020 EO GSEA winner is Harvinder Power, a recent medical school graduate who represented the United Kingdom in the intense, international competition. We asked Harvinder, co-founder and CEO of Motics, about his entrepreneurial journey. Here's what he shared:
Tell us about your company.
Motics uses a wearable approach to enable effective and engaging physiotherapy to improve recovery times after injury.
What inspired you to start your business?
For me, the inspiration to start Motics was deeply personal. My father had sciatica and struggled to engage with his physiotherapy--so, he never fully recovered. He wasn't alone: Up to 70 percent of patients don't do their physiotherapy exercises. I was inspired to find a better way. I didn't think of entrepreneurship as a career path until late in my medical school years when I asked myself the same question time and time again: "How can I have the most impact?"
I realized that to impact health on a global scale, we need innovation across the medical field to solve significant problems often deemed unsolvable. We must question the norm, and take decisive action to make things better.
Our company offers a wearable solution that engages patients, triggers muscle activity and provides actionable insights into muscle function. Our software gamifies physiotherapy exercises--similar to the Wii video game concept. The Motics platform provides predicted recovery dates, tailored exercises for patients, and progress tracking. In a 10-week trial, we achieved a 4X improvement in engagement rate with patients, who recovered in about half the time compared with an age-matched control group. Physiotherapists using our system enjoy a higher throughput of patients and the ability to measure progress virtually.
How did you discover the GSEA competition?
I came across the competition online, and the title itself struck me--Global Student Entrepreneur Awards. I feel fortunate to know a few friends at university also starting companies, but I thought it was an isolated group--not a global movement.
Experiencing the competition and learning more about other students who are working to change the future truly inspired me. It made me believe that it is possible to be both a student and entrepreneur. I was also surprised by the EO community's generosity of spirit, offering their help so that we can all succeed together.
What were your takeaways from the GSEA Global Finals?
Even with the event being virtual, it successfully connected student entrepreneurs from around the world. One of the most enriching experiences was meeting extraordinarily talented individuals from other countries and developing a feeling of community with them.
It's easy to feel lonely as an entrepreneur. You often feel that you're the only person facing the problems you are, especially as a student entrepreneur. Meeting other "studentpreneurs" struggling with the same issues and learning how they tackled them has been a great source of advice. I believe it's one of the best things about EO--fostering a global sense of community among entrepreneurs worldwide.
How does GSEA differ from other business pitch competitions?
The competition is different in one fundamental way: GSEA focuses on you, the entrepreneur, as a whole person. It's refreshing; most competitions focus on the company, not the individuals that form the company. Hearing the stories of inspiring entrepreneurs from around the world and their missions to shape the future was incredible.
With the GSEA competition, the most important thing is to be open and honest. Startups aren't easy, and many people put on a brave face and pretend that everything is okay. With GSEA, it's not about that. It's about presenting the truth--your story, including its ups and downs. The entire EO community is behind you and willing to help--all you need to do is ask!
How will being the GSEA Global Champion impact your business?
I'm incredibly honored to have been chosen as the champion among an extraordinarily talented group of finalists. I know that each finalist will go on to achieve amazing things. Being the GSEA Global Champion will take our company to the next level. We'll use the cash prize to start manufacturing and prepare to go to market. It's opened the doors for us to get things going at pace.
What challenges has the global pandemic brought to your company?
Covid-19 has presented challenges. While our team operates virtually, we've struggled with starting small-batch production due to lockdown. We've also had a unique opportunity in that physiotherapist offices had to conduct consultations remotely due to lockdown. Based on this, we developed a video consultation platform in just 10 days, which allowed clinics to continue to operate. It helped them adapt to the "new normal." We're excited to see how they use our hardware as we launch our device beta in coming weeks.
What are your plans to evolve your business in the future?
Our focus is to improve how people do physiotherapy, but our technology has vast potential. We can use this technology to improve sports performance, gain a better understanding of musculoskeletal health, and even predict and prevent injuries before they happen. I believe we are on the path to truly changing the way we think about our health.