To encourage the public to show their creativities and realize their dreams, the Ministry of Labor held the “2016 Million-Dollar Maker Competition” competition. The award presentation ceremony was held on Nov. 26. TGH Social Science Group’s product “Open-Source Electric Prosthetic Arm” stood out from twelve finalists and won the championship, grabbing the prize of NTD 1,000,000. In addition to the honor and the prize, all winning teams got a consultation service from flyingV, a fund-raising platform in Taiwan to fulfill their dreams of becoming a startup.
Deputy Minister, Kuo Kuo-wen came to the ceremony to give opening remarks and present the awards, showing his supports to makers. Deputy Minister Kuo said that the Ministry of Labor has been actively supporting the maker training since 2015, building five characteristic Maker Shops around Taiwan. In Maker Shops, equipment and qualified teachers are provided to let the public learn new technologies and integration of multidisciplinary to stir up their potential in creativity. With “Top Maker – Make for All”, the Ministry of Labor wants to encourage everyone to turn their creativities into tangible products. They hope that participants can solve the problems in the society and in everyday life for us to live in a better environment.
The champion team of this year received NT$1,000,000, and the total prize sums up to NT$1,950,000. A total of 201 teams registered for the first run, and 12 of them made it to the final. In the end, the “Open-Source Electric Prosthetic Arm” by TGH Social Science Group won the championship and the prize. According to selection committee, TGH Social Science Group was impressive in that it solves the problem a prosthetic arm user face every day at work or in daily life. The structure of the product is highly complete and it also shows the innovative soft power of a Taiwanese design.
Besides championship, several special awards were given to other contestants. The traditional wrench has been used for hundreds of years. The team “Double Ratcheting Wrench” improves it and its efficacy and speed were doubled. The electing committee is highly approved of it. They not only won the award of Best Applicability in Working Environment but also a prize of NT$300,000. The award of Best Creativity and a prize of NT$200,000 goes to team RAPS who have demonstrated innovation by creating an air purifier that can filter out the outside air of a full face helmet.
The award of Best Product to be Commercialized and a prize of NT$200,000 goes to GOGO Furniture, who develop a series of furniture that can be easily assembled by one person. Their work is highly completed with huge market potential. Team Billy N Design’s Turning Mattress is specifically designed for those who find it hard to turn around because they have to lie on the bed all the time. The team brought back the Most Popular Award and a prize of NT$50,000. As one of the judges, flyingV said that they will provide all the winning teams funding consultation services and the opportunity to commercialize their products, helping them to launch their campaign on fundraising platform so that more and more people will know the good ideas of Taiwanese makers.
The twelve final teams come from all over Taiwan. The oldest contestant is 60 years old from Double Ratcheting Wrench while his youngest teammate is only 22. People from different generation cooperate together to redesign the ordinary ratcheting wrench, adding value to traditional tools. It proves that makers aren’t only young elites but everyone. The Ministry of Labor said that lots of student teams participated this year and they have begun turning their ideas into products while they are still at school. A competition like this could be an encouragement of youth entrepreneurship and in the meantime enhance their competitiveness. It’s hoped that more and more talented makers can be discovered and cultivated through this kind of contest, enhancing the influence of maker events.