It was a night of fierce and calculated competition as MTU students across disciplines pitched innovative business ideas and solutions to help shape the world.
This Husky Innovate event is a tribute to the late Professor of Practice, Bob Mark, within the College of Business, and a recognition of students’ entrepreneurial spirit. In its 16th year, the event, which took place on Thursday, January 19, at the MUB Ballroom, is also a highlight of Michigan Tech’s 2023 Innovation Week activities.
In all, eleven students pitched their ideas to judges, comprised of professors and renowned business professionals, and a lively audience. After an extremely interesting presentation session, Bayle Golden with her idea titled SafeROW, emerged as the winner. Taking a cash prize of $2,000 home, Ms. Golden’s start-up will help curtail the issue of child abduction in the country. This idea also won the Social Impact Award ($1000) which is sponsored by Dr. Elham Asgari, from the College of Business.
With a new innovation in finding the right fit when shopping for clothing online, Jordan Craven received the second prize with Tall and Small Designs. She received a cash prize of $1,000 and another $250 in addition to being voted the Audience Favorite. It did not end there for Ms. Craven as she also won the Breakout Innovation Award which is sponsored by the MTEC SmartZone and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation. That also came with a $1000 cash prize.
The third prize worth $500 was taken by Asia Motta with the Droplet. Miss Motta’s idea previously won the overall at the Idea Pitch competition in the Fall of last year. For millennial plant parents, Asia’s idea is going to help save your plants from dying.
Safe water is an essential part of everyday living and public health. However, for people who manage their water at home, we are always not sure whether it has been contaminated in the wells or not. Here’s where Rehab (Ruby) Alhajjar’s Water Solution idea comes in. Winning the Honorable Mention ($250) category, Ms. Ruby’s innovation will help us detect any contamination in time.
Other ideas in health, education, and sustainable power generation also competed at the event. With Michigan Tech’s commitment to preparing students for the future, the Bob Mark Business Model Pitch Competition has become an exceptional avenue to expose students to the business, entrepreneur, and academic community.
Congrats to all the contestants who took a big step forward with their entrepreneurship goals when they pitched their business models. Special congratulations to our award winners:
Business Model Category
Presented by the College of Business with thanks to sponsors Rick and Jo Berquist, and Dan and Jane Green for sponsoring the Audience Favorite award. Student pitches were judged by how well the solution addressed the customers’ needs, the path to revenue, and the overall presentation.
- First prize – Bayle Golden with SafeROW ($2,000)
- Second prize – Jordan Craven with Tall and Small Designs ($1,000)
- Third prize – Asia Motta with The Droplet ($500)
- Honorable Mention – Rehab (Ruby) Alhajjar with the Water Solution ($250)
- Audience Favorite – Jordan Craven with Tall and Small Designs ($250)
Social Impact Award Category
Sponsored and presented by Gates Professor Dr. Elham Asgari, College of Business. The social impact category examined the significance of the social problem and how well the solution addressed it.
- Bayle Golden with SafeROW ($1,000)
Breakout Innovation Award
Presented by Patrick Visser, Chief Commercial Officer, MTEC SmartZone, and sponsored by the MTEC SmartZone and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation. The breakout innovation award considered the solution’s novelty, ease of implementation, and time to implementation.
- Jordan Craven with Tall and Small Designs ($1,000)
Husky Innovate extends a special thanks to those who provided their time and resources to make the competition a success.
- Dean Johnson, dean, College of Business
- Elham Asgari, Gates Professor, College of Business
- Rick and Jo Berquist
- Dan and Jane Green
- MTEC SmartZone and the MEDC
- Jay Meldrum, executive director, Keweenaw Research Center; MTU liaison to the Grand Traverse Area
- Eric Roberts, MTU alumnus; executive director, 20Fathoms
- Elham Asgari, Gates Professor, College of Business
- Dan Green, MTU alumnus and entrepreneur; principal, BlackFin Group
- Adrienne Minerick, professor of chemical engineering; affiliated professor of biomedical engineering; president, American Society for Engineering Education
- Patrick Visser, chief commercialization officer, MTEC SmartZone
- Michael J. Cleveland, P.E. and MTU alumnus; mentor in residence at Michigan Tech
- Lawrence W. Staley, MTU alumnus; director of engineering (retired 2019), Parker Hannifin Corporation
- Jim Baker, associate vice president for research administration; executive council advisor, Husky Innovate, Office of Innovation and Commercialization
- Rourke Sylvain, MS student, Biomedical Engineering, New Venture Challenge pitch winner ‘22, President of the Collegiate Entrepreneurs’ Organization, and Founder and CEO at Integrated Molecular Innovations
Our Marketing and Support Team
- Jessie Stapleton, marketing and communications specialist, Office of the Associate Provost for Undergraduate Education
- Eugene Agyei, Ph.D. student, College of Sciences and Arts; Husky Innovate intern
- April DePaulis, Pavlis Honors College administrator
Our Production Team
- Sound and Lighting Service’s Elijah Nation and the SLS team
- Dining and Catering Services for their support.
Thanks to all who attended! We look forward to next year’s event!
Written by: Eugene Brown Agyei for Husky Innovate