A team of Griffith MBA students has taken out third place in the inaugural G20 Global Business Challenge.

Griffith’s Impact Solutions proved the top team in the southern hemisphere, with a side from Canada capturing the $100,000 top prize and a group from Poland claiming second.

“We are honoured and humbled, considering the strong opposition from around the world,” team leader Andrew Zaniewski said when he accepted a cheque for $10,000.

He encouraged all teams to follow through on the projects that took them to the prestigious finale, hosted by Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane.

“Don’t let it be a university memory,” he said.

“Our team is determined to follow through on what we have achieved so far and we will endeavour to make it a commercial reality and not just another team assignment.”

University teams were challenged to develop innovative solutions to the problem of water scarcity around the world, with 40 entries from 18 countries initially submitted.

The Griffith team joined contenders from Australia, Canada, Poland, Great Britain and the United States in the final after judges considered their innovative business plan to supply potable water in Nauru and Chennai.

The challenge brought together teams of graduate students, industry leaders and researchers.

Griffith’s team was made up of five Gold Coast-based MBA students, Andrew Zaniewski, Prasanna Sivasubramaniam Shanmuganathan, Joshua Salkeld, Nathan Pugliese and Matthew Kelly.

The group was coached by Professor Evan Douglas, head of Griffith’s Department of Marketing, and collaborated with Brisbane-based inventor Trevor Powell of Impacts Solar.

The world-first competition was organised by Griffith University, University of Queensland and QUT, with the latter taking the lead this year. The three Brisbane universities will continue to host and develop the Global Business Challenge which will be linked to the G20 going forward.

The Governor of Queensland His Excellency The Honourable Paul De Jersey AC said the finalists had responded magnificently to the challenge and expressed his hope that the ideas generated by the 40 teams would find application to the benefit of different communities around the world.

“The Global Business Challenge has created powerful coalitions capable of making inroads into the challenges of our time,” he said.