Tag: entrepreneurship

Announcing Our Upcoming Experience Innovation Trip – Detroit!

Experience Innovation trips offer a unique blend of education, inspiration, networking, and personal development. They provide students with a taste of the entrepreneurial world and equip them with skills and insights that can benefit them throughout their academic and professional journeys.

Husky Innovate is proud to announce their newest Experience Innovation trip and they are headed to Detroit!

What makes a strong innovation and entrepreneurship (I&E) ecosystem and why are companies drawn to Detroit? One could argue that Detroit is the most innovative city in the Midwest.  From Motown music to the Big 3 automobile manufacturers, Detroit has a rich history that positions it as a regional hub for innovation and technology development.  Detroit companies are making an impact in global markets and up-and-coming startups find that they have the resources they need to fuel their growth. 

Michigan Tech students are invited to an immersive innovation experience in Detroit this November 19-22, in which they will tour and meet with representatives at Ford Motor Company’s mobility innovation district – Michigan Central, Michigan Founders Fund – led by DUO Security co-founder Dug Song, Dow Ventures, and a collection of startup companies that you may not have heard of yet, but are on their way to becoming household names.  

A preliminary list of visit locations includes:

Here are just a few compelling reasons why students should consider joining us on this adventure to Detroit:

  1. Networking Opportunities: These trips offer Huskies a unique chance to connect with established entrepreneurs, successful business leaders, and like-minded peers. Networking with individuals who have practical experience can open doors to mentorship, internships, and future career opportunities.
  2. Inspiration and Motivation: Meeting entrepreneurs and visiting startups can be incredibly inspiring. Students often leave these trips with a renewed sense of purpose and motivation to pursue their own entrepreneurial ideas and projects.
  3. Resume Enhancement: Participation in such trips can significantly enhance a student’s resume. It demonstrates a proactive approach to learning and a genuine interest in entrepreneurship and innovation, which can make them stand out to potential employers or investors.
  4. Clarifying Career Goals: Meeting startups and entrepreneurs can help students clarify their career goals. They may discover new interests or confirm existing passions, helping them make informed decisions about their future paths.
  5. Entrepreneurial Mindset: These experiences can foster an entrepreneurial mindset characterized by creativity, resilience, adaptability, and a willingness to take calculated risks, which are valuable attributes in any career.
  6. Academic Complement: Experience Innovation trips can complement their Michigan Tech academic coursework by providing real-world context to what students learn in class. This practical application of knowledge can enhance their understanding of business concepts.
  7. Personal Growth: These trips often lead to personal growth. Students develop self-confidence, improve communication skills, and become more adaptable to new environments and challenges.

In summary, Experience Innovation trips offer a unique blend of education, inspiration, networking, and personal development. They provide students with a taste of the entrepreneurial world and equip them with skills and insights that can benefit them throughout their academic and professional journeys.

Understanding what fuels innovation is best understood by experiencing it firsthand – sign up today!  Get a window into the regional innovation and entrepreneurship community (I&E), have a chance to ask your questions firsthand, and learn what drives entrepreneurship. 

This opportunity is made possible by Husky Innovate’s key collaborators, Pavlis Honors College, the Office of Innovation and Commercialization, and the College of Business

Daytime shot from across the Detroit River taken of the Detroit Skyline.

Husky Innovate Announces Fall 2023 Schedule of Events

Husky Innovate, a collaboration between the Pavlis Honors College, the Office of Innovation and Commercialization, and the College of Business, has a goal to provide the tools and knowledge to cultivate Michigan Tech’s innovative, creative, and entrepreneurial spirit across all disciplines offered on campus. To accomplish that goal, Husky Innovate provides valuable innovation and entrepreneurial education programs to students, staff, and faculty at Michigan Tech and this fall’s schedule is no exception!

This semester we have an outstanding lineup of workshops and speakers – check out the schedule of events for fall 2023 below. For more information on our Husky Innovate events, please visit:  http://www.mtu.edu/husky-innovate

Husky Innovate Fall 2023 Semester Calendar of Events
Husky Innovate Fall 2023 Schedule of Events

Looking for ways to get involved? Sign up for our mailing list and get information sent directly to your inbox about upcoming innovation workshops, speakers, or other ways to excel your career. 

Winners Announced: 2023 Bob Mark Business Model Pitch Competition

Child Protection, Fashion and Safe Water Technologies Win Big at the Bob Mark Pitch Competition – Pictured: Winners Asia Motte, Bayle Golden, and Jordan Craven

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)

Emcee Rourke Sylvain, First Place Winner Bayle Golden, and Host Jim Baker
Jordan Craven shows off their awards – Second Prize, Breakout Innovation, and Audience Favorite

Husky Innovate extends a special thanks to those who provided their time and resources to make the competition a success.

Our Sponsors

  • 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

Our Judges

  • 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

Our Host

  • Jim Baker, associate vice president for research administration; executive council advisor, Husky Innovate, Office of Innovation and Commercialization

Our Emcee

  • 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!

If you are interested in additional opportunities, check out our Husky Innovate Events Page.  Please feel free to reach out to huskyinnovate@mtu.edu for more information.

Written by: Eugene Brown Agyei for Husky Innovate

Idea Pitch 2022: MTU Students Poised to Shape the World with Innovative Solutions


One hundred and twenty seconds. This is the amount of time students had to present their entrepreneurial ideas to judges at this year’s Ideas Pitch Competition. 

The event took place at 5 pm on Tuesday, October 4, at the Great Lakes Research Center.

Organized by Husky Innovate every fall semester as one of several activities to build the capacity of students to launch real-world startups.  This year’s event saw eight contestants whose ideas ranged from building college-friendly cabinets that do not require tools to assemble, to setting up food trucks for diverse communities in the Houghton area. 

After very interesting presentations, the first-place award with a $200 cash prize went to  Anastasia Motta whose idea, “The Droplet”, is going to help you save your house plants from dying. 

Husky Innovate Idea Pitch Competition certification presentation
Asia Motta (right) receiving the first place certificate and award from Jon Leinonen.

Cassandra Nash with a new idea of making college-friendly cabinets won the second-place award. She received a $100 cash prize. The third-place award with a $50 prize was taken by Alex Bos. Alex’s pitch is attempting to revolutionalize how college students can enjoy a couch even in limited spaces. 

In addition to judges, the audience was comprised of students, faculty members, and university staff.  The audience was given the opportunity to vote for their favorite pitch.  Noel Kamdem-Tegue, whose company, Black Earth Rising, pitched their food truck idea to serve African and Indian food with the idea that diverse communities can enjoy their home favorites.  Black Earth Rising was judged as the audience’s favorite. 

Other award categories included an honorable mention and a social impact award received by Ruby Alhajjar and Cethan Magnan respectively.

The event was supported by Pavlis Honors College.  Awards were sponsored by Dean Johnson, Dean of the College of Business, and Elham Asgari, Assistant Professor of Management and Entrepreneurship at the College of Business.

The judges for the night were Elham Asgari (COB); Erich Petushek (CLS), Mark Rudnicki (COFRES), Briana Tucker (Enterprise), Jason Mack, (MTEC SmartZone); and Rourke Sylvain (Biomed). The event was emceed by Bayle Golden, (COB).

The Idea Pitch Competition is the first of three pitch events that Husky Innovate hosts each year. The next pitch event is the Bob Mark Business Model Competition on January 19th, a legacy event that celebrates entrepreneurship and is a tribute to the late College of Business Professor of Practice Bob Mark. Contestants pitch the key components of their business models, including value proposition, customer segment, and product market fit. 

First Place: Anastasia Motta with The Droplet ($200)
Second Place: Cassandra Nash with College Friendly Cabinets ($100)
Third Place: Alex Bos with The SELF Couch ($50)
Honorable Mention: Ruby Alhajjar with Monitoring System for Microbial Influence ($25)
Audience Favorite: Noel Kamdem-Tegue with Black Earth Rising, a food truck ($25)
Social Impact Award: Cethan Magnan with School Swap ($100)

Written by: Eugene Brown Agyei for Husky Innovate

Husky Innovate Announces Fall 2022 Schedule of Events

Husky Innovate, a collaboration between the Pavlis Honors College, the Office of Innovation and Commercialization, and the College of Business, has a goal to provide the tools and knowledge to cultivate Michigan Tech’s innovative, creative, and entrepreneurial spirit across all disciplines offered on campus. To accomplish that goal, Husky Innovate provides valuable innovation and entrepreneurial education programs to students, staff, and faculty at Michigan Tech and this fall’s schedule is no exception!

This semester we have an outstanding lineup of workshops and speakers – check out the schedule of events for fall 2022 below. For more information on our Husky Innovate events, please visit:  http://www.mtu.edu/husky-innovate

Husky Innovate Fall 2022 Calendar of Events
Husky Innovate Fall 2022 Calendar of Events

Looking for ways to get involved? Sign up for our mailing list and get information sent directly to your inbox about upcoming innovation workshops, speakers, or other ways to excel your career. 

Winners Announced: 2022 Bob Mark Business Model Pitch Competition

Social Impact Award Winner – Bayle Golden with STEMPOWER

Congratulations and thank you to Husky Innovate’s Bob Mark Business Model Pitch Competition contestants and winners! On January 27th, 16 Michigan Tech students, representing diverse majors, participated in the competition either virtually over Zoom or in-person, and pitched their business models to a panel of judges and to a live audience. Each contestant was provided 4 minutes to pitch key components of their business models, including the value proposition and customer segment.

A highlight of Michigan Tech’s Innovation Week, this legacy event celebrates entrepreneurship and is a tribute to the late College of Business Professor of Practice Bob Mark. There were three categories of prizes: business model, social impact, and breakout innovation. The business model category looked at how well the solution addresses the customers’ needs, the path to revenue, and the overall presentation. The social impact category examined the significance of the social problem and how well the solution addressed it. The breakout innovation award considered the solution’s novelty, ease of implementation, and time to implementation.  

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 College of Business, thank you to sponsors Rick and Jo Berquist, and Dan and Jane Green for sponsoring the Audience Favorite award.

  • First prize – Akhil Kurup with Sense ($2,000)
  • Second prize – Maggie Zimmermann  with Famealia ($1,000)
  • Third prize – Jakob Christiansen with ProBoard ($500)
  • Honorable Mention – Nick Peterson with NOMAD ($250) 
  • Audience Favorite – Maggie Zimmermann with Famealia ($250) 

Social Impact Award Category

Sponsored and presented by Dr. Elham Asgari, Gates Professor College of Business, with a $1,000 matching contribution from Arick Davis and Jake Northey of Creative Mines.

  • Bayle Golden with STEMPOWER ($2,000)

Breakout Innovation Award

Presented by Patrick Visser, Chief Commercial Officer, MTEC SmartZone, sponsored by the MTEC SmartZone and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation.

  • Akhil Kurup with Sense ($1,000)

Husky Innovate extends a special thanks to those who provided their time and resources to make the competition a success.

Our Sponsors

  • Dean Johnson, Dean, College of Business
  • Elham Asgari, Gates Professor, College of Business
  • Rick and Jo Berquist
  • Dan and Jane Green
  • Arick Davis and Jake Northey, Creative Mines
  • MTEC SmartZone and the MEDC

Our Judges 

  • Jim Baker, Associate VP Research Administration, Co-Director Husky Innovate 
  • Michelle Jarvie-Eggart, Assistant Professor Engineering Fundamentals
  • Eric Roberts, Executive Director 20Fathoms 
  • David Shull, Senior Director Skills Partnerships, Handshake
  • Elham Asgari, Gates Professor, College of Business
  • Dan Green, Entrepreneur, and Principal at BlackFin Group, MTU Alumnus
  • Arick Davis, Entrepreneur, Co-founder Last Mile Cafe, Creative Mines, MTU Alumnus 
Competition Judges

Our Emcee

Gary Tropp, Computer Network and System Administration, Pavlis Honors College Student, University Innovation Fellow, and Husky Innovate Pitch winner ‘18, ‘19.

Our Marketing Team

Vienna Leonarduzzi, Marketing and Communications Director, Pavlis Honors College, and Laura Vidal Chiesa, Michigan Tech Ph.D. Student, College of Sciences and Arts and Husky Innovate Intern.  

Our Production Team

Special thanks to Stefan Hurthibise and the Michigan Tech IT team, Sound and Lighting Services’ James Langsford, Elijah Nation, Luke Schloemp, and the rest of the team, and Photo Services provided by Alok Shelar of University Marketing and Communications, and Dining and Catering Services for their support. 

A special thank you to the Office of Advancement and Alumni Engagement for inviting all Bob Mark pitch contestants to watch the January 29th Michigan Tech Hockey game from the Presidential Skybox.

Thanks to all who attended! We look forward to next year’s event!

Cameron Philo Wins Best Technology and $10,000 at CMU New Venture Competition

Apurva Baruah pitching at CMU New Venture for Yooper Ag.

Five student teams from Michigan Technological University traveled to Central Michigan University (CMU) in Mount Pleasant, MI to compete in the ninth annual New Venture Competition held Friday, April 12. Student teams from Michigan Tech and CMU presented business plans and pitches to panels of experienced entrepreneurs. The Michigan Tech students that competed in the 2019 CMU New Venture Competition were:

  • Mayank Bagaria for Vakya
  • Apurva Baruah for Yooper Ag
  • Ahammad Basha Dudekula for AGTO Autonomous
  • Cameron Philo for Life Pro Jackets
  • Karuna Rana and Sid Premchandani for Reality Check

Cameron Philo pitching at CMU New Venture for Life Pro Jackets.

Michigan Tech students Cameron Philo and Mayank Bagaria advanced to the semifinals last Friday. Cameron Philo won Best Technology and was awarded $10,000. Philo participated in Michigan Tech’s I-Corps Site Program last Fall. I-Corps is a team-based program structure that was developed through a partnership between the National Science Foundation (NSF) and Silicon Valley entrepreneurs. The workshop provides an introduction to the Lean Start-up business development methodology, which focuses on getting out of the lab and using the tools of customer discovery and the business model canvas to evaluate the commercial potential of innovative technologies.

Mayank Bagaria pitching at CMU New Venture for Vakya.

This is the ninth year of the New Venture competition and the eighth year of Michigan Tech’s partnership with CMU. Last year, four out of Michigan Tech’s six participants took home cash and in-kind awards.

Cameron Philo wins Best Technology and $10,000.

Michigan Tech’s Innovation Center for Entrepreneurship (ICE), a collaboration between the Pavlis Honors College and the School of Business and Economics, continues to be an excellent resource for students looking to start their own business or bring new ideas and concepts to the next stage of development. Husky Innovate was introduced this academic year by ICE as a succession of workshops and events that build on each other leading up to the CMU New Venture Competition. The intention is to guide students through key phases of innovation or business development while emphasizing evidence based strategies for success. Many of the students that competed in this year’s New Venture Competition also participated in various Husky Innovate events and workshops throughout the academic year. Students interested in innovating, developing, and implementing their ideas and inventions are encouraged to visit the Pavlis Honors College (M&M 722) to learn more about ICE and the resources available to them.

Husky Innovate Speaker Series Event on April 26th

The Innovation Center for Entrepreneurship will host its second Husky Innovate Speaker Series on Friday, April 26, from 12-1 PM in the Pavlis Honors College Collaboration Space (M&M 722). Faculty, students, and staff are invited to join us for a talk given by Michigan Tech’s Dr. Brad King. King is the Ron and Elaine Starr Professor in Space Systems in the department of Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics. He also serves as the faculty advisor for Aerospace Enterprise, is Director of the Space Systems Research Group, and the CEO of Orbion Space Technology.

King will discuss the “small satellite revolution”, Orbion’s value proposition of affordable, reliable electric propulsion for your small satellite mission, how his team approaches innovation, and how advances in technology such as Orbion’s have disrupted the space industry.

If you are an innovator or entrepreneur working on an idea with the goal of launching your own business, you are highly encouraged to attend. Registration is required, and attendance will be capped at 30. Lunch will be provided to the first 30 people to register. Please register no later than Tuesday, April 23rd.

The Husky Innovate Speaker Series is hosted by the Innovation Center for Entrepreneurship which is a collaboration between the Pavlis Honors College, the School of Business and Economics, and the Vice President for Research Office.

DTX Launch Detroit Deadline is April 4

Michigan Tech students from Detroit and the surrounding area have a unique summertime opportunity through incubator and accelerator, TechTown Detroit. TechTown, a partner of the Detroit Technology Exchange (DTX), connects entrepreneurs to resources, as well as learning and networking events in Detroit.

DTX Launch Detroit is a ten-week paid entrepreneurship program for college students and recent graduates who want to start their own business with an innovative idea. The program runs from May 21 to August 8.

Students can expand their entrepreneurship tool box, develop their resume, complete the groundwork for launching their own innovative idea, and receive a stipend in the process!

Participants will receive $2,500 upon completing the program (up to $7,500 per team).

The deadline to apply is April 4th. More information about DTX Launch Detroit and how to apply can be found here.

Congratulations to the 2019 Rekhi Innovation Challenge Winners

The 2019 Rekhi Innovation Challenge ended Thursday, February 28. This year there were seven teams competing. The Rekhi Challenge is a crowdfunding competition to help promote and support student innovation and entrepreneurship through Michigan Tech’s crowdfunding site, Superior Ideas. A total of $3,035 was raised between the projects. Congratulations to the Automated Beach Safety Flag project for raising the most at $2,245. This project team will receive a matching gift of $1,000.
Below are the results in the other prize categories:
Most Unique Visitors – 1st Place Wins $50 For Their Project
1st place – Audio to Visual Translator
2nd place – Automated Beach Safety Flag
3rd place – LifePro Jackets
Most Unique Funders – 1st Place Wins $50 For Their Project
1st place – Audio to Visual Translator
2nd place – Automated Beach Safety Flag
3rd place – LifePro Jackets
Social Media Engagement – 1st Place Wins $50 For Their Project
1st place – Automated Beach Safety Flag
2nd place – Audio to Visual Translator
3rd – LifePro Jackets
Most Creative Marketing Communications Strategy – 1st Place Wins $50 For Their Project
1st place – Automated Beach Safety Flag
The Audio to Visual project won a total of $100 in prize money and the Automated Beach Safety Flag project won a total of $1,150. Thank you to all of the donors that contributed to these projects. Your support for student innovation and entrepreneurship at Michigan Tech is greatly appreciated.
Superior Ideas was established in 2012 to help bring University research and public service projects to life. The site uses crowdfunding to raise money and awareness for University research and public service projects that may not qualify for grant funding.
The Rekhi Innovation Challenge was hosted by the Innovation Center for Entrepreneurship and developed with support from Michigan Tech alumnus and longtime donor Kanwal Rekhi. The Silicon Valley-based entrepreneur earned his master’s degree in electrical engineering from Michigan Tech in 1969. The Innovation Center for Entrepreneurship is a collaboration between the Pavlis Honors College and the School of Business and Economics.