Looking Back on the 2021 GSEA Global Finals

10 July 2021

In May, the Entrepreneurs Organization hosted the GSEA Global Finals virtually. This year, GSEA received over 1,200 applications from across the world and hosted over 100 competitions in 38 countries to determine the international finalists. 38 of the most promising student entrepreneurs were invited to compete at the Global Finals and those representing Ireland, Tanzania, Panama, Colombia, Mexico, and the USA ultimately battled for the top prize.

During the final round we heard from each student as they shared about their entrepreneurial journey and presented their business to the judges and audience. Each finalist worked hard in their competition rooms, but only one of them could take home the competition’s grand prize of US$25,000 and the title of 2021 EO GSEA Global Champion.

The 2021 EO GSEA Global Champion was Roberta Elizondo, a former business creation and innovation student who represented Mexico. Roberta founded Travelers with Cause, a business that promotes responsible tourism and aims to create a positive social impact in vulnerable communities. The judges were impressed by her resourcefulness, creativity, and commitment to making long-term social impacts through her organisation.

David Denis, representing Tanzania, and Camilo Salinas, representing Colombia, came in second and third place. David’s business, CutOff_Recycle provides employment opportunities for over 100 young people in Arusha, Tanzania through an innovative approach to waste hair recycling. Camilo created Residia, a multiplatform app designed to help grow residential communities by facilitating internal processes and easing communication.



Alongside our fantastic winner and runners up, several finalists were highly commended for their exceptional ambition and innovative solutions to global issues. This year’s winners were:

  • Together We Grow Award, for the student who demonstrates a commitment to encouraging growth and well-being among fellow competitors - Ambula Gopi Raja of India, founder of Fopple Technologies
  • The Community Social Impact Award, for the student most passionate about making a social impact in their local community - Aruzhan Amanbaeva of Kazakhstan, for The Soul Education.
  • The Global Social Impact Award, for the student striving to make a social impact through their business on a global scale - Selen Şenal of Turkey, forAlgae Biodiesel.
  • The Innovation Award, for a business that changes the way we experience the world - Lianna Genovese of Canada, for Guided Hands.
  • Lessons from the Edge Award for the recognition of a student’s perseverance and strength in overcoming a serious obstacle - Seavpor Tang of Cambodia, for Fixh.me
  • Pivot Award, for the student’s adaptability and creative response to the Covid-19 crisis - Charles de Belen of the Philippines, for contact tracing platform EndCoV and his chatbot, Bantay.

Prior to the competitions rounds in May, GSEA hosted a virtual learning series for all Global Finalists to hear from leading business experts, EO members and GSEA alumni. The series kicked off with flash mentorship sessions where students and seasoned entrepreneurs paired up for discussions on various topics related to running a company. Students also participated in a Forum session with fellow competitors to create connections with each other and dive deep into the challenges that come with being an entrepreneur. Additional webinars included training on managing cash flow, securing angel investment funding, building a strong team and a special panel featuring past GSEA competitors who spoke on gaining credibility as young entrepreneurs and creating work/life balance.

Bertha Ponce, the Global Finalist from Ecuador shared about participating in the Global Finals. “It was an incredible and motivating experience to interact with and befriend young entrepreneurs who are changing the world and have gone through similar experiences as I have and found success. This experience gave me great confidence in my project and has helped me overcome my weakness in sharing about myself publicly, so I have assurance in this now thanks to GSEA.” 

Roberta Elizondo also commented on the experience, saying’ it made me believe in myself, will make my team stronger, provided support from the greatest entrepreneurs, and gave me a network of excellent people who I am sure will keep making this world a better place!’

Interested in taking part in the 2021-2022 GSEA competition season? Applications are open! Click here to apply now – we’re looking forward to hearing from you.