Groundify: 2019 – 2020 Best Social Pitch Winner Interview

Gurnoor Narula, Arshia Narula – 2021

Frisco, Texas

“The Blue Ocean Student Entrepreneurship Competition motivates students of all backgrounds to discover new ideas of their own. This competition encourages students to develop an entrepreneurial mindset that will allow them to succeed in every path of their future.”

Below is an interview with the Blue Ocean Student Entrepreneur Pitch Competition winner of the best social pitch for 2020. These two students pitched the idea of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by repurposing coffee grounds. Hopefully this pitch inspires other students to compete and offer solutions to current problems.

Why did you enter the contest? What did you hope to accomplish or learn?

As entrepreneurship’s core definition is centered around initiation, our team, Groundify, decided to explore the realm of entrepreneurship through this prestigious competition. In addition, we hoped to learn more about the Blue Ocean strategy and have a professional evaluation of our business idea.

How did you learn about the competition (school or teacher, the Internet, a recommendation from a friend…)?

We learned about this competition through the Internet while searching for the most prestigious high school entrepreneurship competitions.

Why this contest and not another one? What appealed to you about this competition?

The key differentiator about this competition compared to others was the incorporation of the Blue Ocean Strategy. We wanted to see how the Blue Ocean Strategy would apply to our business. Secondly, this competition provided us an opportunity to pitch our business idea to experienced entrepreneurs.

How or why did you pick your topic?

The beginnings of Groundify originated on a road trip in the valleys of Vienna, Austria. Both of us had been invited to perform as saxophone soloists at the Musikverein Music Hall and while we were naively touring the great cities of Austria, both of us couldn’t help but notice how clean all the cities were. Compared to our previous visit to our parents’ hometown in North India where the most common waste disposal method was trash burning, trash and landfills seemed to be nonexistent in the cities of Austria. Although we disregarded this thought for the remainder of the trip, it began to bother us on our return to Dallas and through several days of thinking, we realized the importance of ensuring that our society moves towards a landfill-free society. We slowly began to materialize this issue into a social venture that would address the problems in our society, Groundify.

Is this a real business that you plan on pursuing?

Yes, it is a real business that we plan on pursuing. In fact, Groundify has already been established as a company in the state of Texas and we have initiated discussions with several local coffee shops in the DFW area to start a trial project.

Do you plan on being an entrepreneur?

Yes, because entrepreneurship is the one field that lies at the intersection of numerous technical and business skills that can be applied in many unique ways. In addition, through entrepreneurship, we would like to deliver innovative and sustainable solutions to persistent issues, leaving our mark on society.

What were your favorite learnings from the Blue Ocean concepts?

Our favorite learning from the Blue Ocean concepts was the value of innovative thinking. In addition, acquiring new knowledge of the Blue Ocean strategy has equipped us with a strong technical skillset to employ in the future.

How will you use the fact that you won?

Being one of the winning teams in this competition provides us with a unique opportunity to be on social media and spread awareness about the Blue Ocean Competition and the Blue Ocean Strategy. In addition, we strongly believe that being recognized for this competition lies much above college applications or social media as it not only gives a platform for us to excel in entrepreneurship but also gives us a realistic opportunity to be a successful entrepreneur.

How much time did you spend creating your pitch?

This idea originated on our trip to Austria in September of 2019. Thereafter, all the research and preparation for the business plan was conducted in the following months. However, our motivation behind this project surpassed our thinking of the time and the excitement we had while forming this business made time seem to fly by.

What was hard?

As the concepts of entrepreneurship were new to us, each step was a new challenge and learning. The excitement and our passion to succeed with this idea lead us to meet all challenges head-on. Effectively managing our time between schoolwork, activities, and pursuing our passion for entrepreneurship was initially difficult but we eventually learnt the art of effective time management.

What was easy?

Being in the same school and household, it was easy to communicate and understand each other perspectives. This lead to quick and effective decisions that eventually helped us formulate the business at a quick pace.

Did you find the fact that this is a virtual and global competition appealing?

This was definitely a huge factor in applying to this competition as we had the opportunity to gain exposure to other global entrepreneurial ideas while receiving feedback for experienced global entrepreneurs.

Did your school or teacher encourage you or did you pursue this on your own?

Although the idea was pursued on our own, our school was very supportive throughout the entire process as our teachers and counselors alike provided us with valuable feedback and input that helped us further solidify our business idea.

Was there value to your school in your entering and/or winning?

The school deservedly stands to benefit from our recognition in this prestigious competition as our school is associated with our winnings and can serve as an agent to promote entrepreneurship within our community.

What did you learn?

In a nutshell, through this competition, our team learned numerous technical and soft skills that will benefit us along our entrepreneurial journey. In addition, gaining knowledge about the Blue Ocean Strategy has helped us developed a unique perspective to analyze our company and how to progress and grow.

What will you do with your winnings?

We plan to reinvest the money back into our company, Groundify, to begin marketing and selling our products to a local market and eventually growing and reaching a larger customer base. We may also consider putting the money towards other entrepreneurial ventures.

What would you do differently?

Given the time, our team would have liked to have prototypes ready in order to better sell our company’s proof of concept as well as our dedication towards this project.

What advice do you have for future participants?

Entrepreneurship is a roller coaster. There are bumps and turns and ups and downs, but we have to learn to trust the process. Through this, we must understand that getting started wins you half the battle and consistent dedicated effort towards the final goal will get you there. Looking to compete in this competition is a great first step so kudos on taking it and simply continuing on this path, trusting the process, and executing the final goal will get you to where you want to reach.


“The Blue Ocean Student Entrepreneurship Competition motivates students of all backgrounds to discover new ideas of their own. This competition encourages students to develop an entrepreneurial mindset that will allow them to succeed in every path of their future.”

Register for the competition and get access to the Blue Ocean Student Entrepreneurs Mini-Course. This course will teach you the fundamentals of Blue Ocean Strategy, which is the leading strategy method in the business world today. After completing the course, you will be provided with a valuable certificate showing that you are trained in Blue Ocean concepts.

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More than 2500 students took part in the 2022 competition. Check out the inspiring winning blue ocean pitches.

More than 2000 students took part in the 2022 competition. Check out the inspiring winning blue ocean pitches.