The Global Business Challenge is a graduate business case competition to design sustainable solutions to global problems.

Congratulations to the winners of the 2017 Global Business Challenge

Seven finalist teams from around the world shared their solutions to the challenge of ‘renewable energy’ at the fourth Global Business Challenge graduate business case competition in Brisbane.


Competing for $275,000 in total prizes, teams put forward an array of solutions to this year’s challenge: to develop novel solutions that lower the costs and/or reduce the risks associated with transitioning from fossil-fuel based energy to sustainable and reliable renewable energy sources.


Congratulations to the combined team from University of Arizona/ QUT winners Smart Blox who were awarded the 1st prize of $100,000 plus the industry prizes from ACTewAGL and the Queensland Government industry prizes each worth $75,000 to support the pilot for their innovated solution Solar Blox. The $250,000 in prizes will aid Smart Blox to become a successful start-up by supporting two pilot projects in the Australian Capital Territory and Queensland.


Combining all of the necessary elements of a complete Do-It-Yourself solar system product that is similar in accessibility and mobility to a portable petrol generator, Solar Blox can produce a continuous level of residential power to run appliances through a standard power outlet.


Team LRES Griffith University received second place with a cash prize of $15,000 and Team Takachar MIT/ Northeastern University came third with a prize of $10,000.


The 2017 Global Business Challenge experienced a high level of participation of teams from around the world. This year saw participation from 98 teams, representing 38 universities from 14 countries.


A big congratulations goes out to all teams for making into the finals, with an intensive lock-in period and a presentation in front of a panel of five judges from industry and government. It was an incredible effort which all should be proud of.

GBC Purpose

Purpose / Mission

The Global Business Challenge (GBC) is being conducted as a partnership between QUT, The University of Queensland and Griffith University and with the support of government and industry.

The 2017 GBC is hosted at Griffith University, with the event being managed by, QUT (The Organisers), with the assistance of an Advisory Board, Technical Advisors, executive judges from industry and government as well as our many student volunteers.

The objective of the GBC is to leverage the exceptional intellectual talent from the worlds’ top business schools and universities to solve a major global problem. The competition is designed to challenge students to formulate business solutions for globally relevant and contemporary ‘wicked’ problems with global significance. Importantly, the GBC is designed to foster cross-border and cross-discipline collaborations to create solutions that capture emerging transformative business opportunities for industries, regions and countries.

Solutions will consist of a combination of new and emerging technologies, as well as novel business models to support commercialisation and global adoption of these solutions. Industry prizes are specifically targeted to support finalist teams, or their collaborators in their commercialisation effort. As collaboration is a key pillar of the competition, teams are encouraged to have strong collaboration with technology providers, from research and industry and government organisations.

As the first and largest competition of its type in the world and its partners have committed to host the event for an initial seven year period. This will see the GBC has become the new benchmark in Graduate Case Competitions with a focus on delivering implementable and practical solutions to the world’s biggest challenges.

2017 Winners

First Prize $25,000 plus Project Prize $75,000: Smart Blox, joint team of University of Arizona & QUT

Team members: Tim Larsen, Mary Dusek and Katherine Monberg. Coach: Dr John Bensley.

Second Prize: $15,000:
LRES, Griffith University

Team members: Les Adams, Erik Malan and Wendy Zernike. Coach: Professor Evan Douglas

Third Prize: $10,000:
Takachar, MIT & Northeastern University

Team members: Kevin Kung and Adesh Mehta. Coach: Professor William Aulet

Industry Prize Winners

ACTewAGL Renewable Energy Prize: $75,000:
Smart Blox

Queensland Government Prize: $75,000:
Smart Blox

2017 Event partners

University partners

QUT Logo
UQ Logo
Griffith Logo

Supporting partners

Supporting Sponsors

Contact us