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Entreprenership students win trip to South Africa

Four students who won video competition.

From left to right, seated, Jinny Oh and Uzma Azami,
and standing, Fanny Aizier and Helga Quijano.

Four Krannert students who love to travel will visit their fourth continent in a year's time, thanks to their winning video entry showcasing diversity and unity.

The master’s students are all enrolled in the Global Entrepreneurship Program and came from four different countries to study at Purdue University. Creating a video about freedom for the #DiversePeopleUnited contest was their chance to win an all-expenses paid, week-long trip to South Africa. It was an opportunity they couldn’t pass up.

Jinny Oh, a Korean-born Canadian citizen most recently from North Carolina, heard about the competition celebrating South Africa’s 20 years of freedom. She asked three classmates to join her in making a video. “We filmed it on Monday, edited it on Tuesday and found out we won on Friday.”

In addition to Jinny, the one-minute video features Helga Quijano, from Colombia; Fanny Aizier, a native of France; and Uzma Azami, born and raised in Dubai, but she’s also called India home. As wise entrepreneurs, before jumping in to create something new, they studied their competition.

“Barely any of the videos had diversity,” Uzma says.

“Just by being ourselves, we had a story,” Fanny adds.

“We brainstormed and had thousands of ideas,” Helga explains.

They incorporated a quote from Nelson Mandela, African music and the South African flag, but in the end, each person brought their unique talents and perspectives to the video, which made it stand out. Uzma says, “The way we are portrayed in the video is exactly how we are in real life.”

In addition to a love of travel, the women also share a love of entrepreneurship. As part of the Global Entrepreneurship Program, they spent the past fall semester in France at EMLYON Business School. Spring semester they studied in China at Zhejiang Universiy and they will complete the program with a summer semester at Purdue.

  • Jinny chose the master’s program based on the appeal of traveling to different countries. She records her experiences in a travel blog. Jinny’s currently working on her own startup, a personal finance management and data aggregating company. She is also developing a mobile app for digital receipts and a website to connect entrepreneurs.
  • Uzma liked the idea of learning on three different continents as well as the opportunity to study at Purdue. “The American semester is my highlight. It was a dream to come to the U.S. and study,” she says. Uzma is working on an ecommerce website and a mobile app. “I want to bring the concept of fashion websites that exists here in the U.S. to Dubai.” With her interest in fashion, Uzma did the styling for the video.
  • Fanny has a background in IT and launched two small businesses while continuing to work a full-time job. “I loved the experience. I really wanted to make it my career, so I quit my job and decided to start this program,” she says. Fanny is currently working on a mobile app and an ecommerce store. She is also passionate about making videos, which you can view on Fanny's youtube page.
  • Helga is an industrial engineer who worked in the banking industry for several years. “When I was working in the bank, I was in touch with a lot of micro- and medium-sized companies. They inspired me. I realized I wanted to do something by myself.” Helga is currently working on a mobile app and a social entrepreneurship project to integrate sustainable urban agriculture with low-income housing.

The women will graduate in August with master’s degrees in Global Entrepreneurship, then celebrate with the trip to South Africa, visiting Johannesburg and Cape Town. They look at South Africa as another continent to explore business opportunities and another experience to inspire their entrepreneurial ideas.

Contest details and their winning entry can be seen at the Diverse People Unite website. Fellow Purdue student Pierre Riviere helped film the video. The contest was sponsored by South African Airways and Trevolta.