Tag: innovation

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. 

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. 

Husky Innovate Students Compete and Win at the New Venture Competition

Each year, Central Michigan University and Michigan Tech’s CMU’s New Venture Competition. Due to COVID-19, this year the competition pivoted online and became the New Venture Online Competition — NVOC. Contestants pitched their ideas in either a 10-minute or two-minute pitch. Four Michigan Tech Husky Innovate students competed in the 10-minute pitch category and three won top prizes.

First Prize — Ranit Karmakar with FOCUS, $7,500
Second Prize — Mitch DeLong with FreightMate, $3,000
Honorable Mention — Jacob Soter with SwimSmart, $1,000

Watch the 2020 New Venture Competition awards ceremony

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.

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.

Spend Your Spring Break in Silicon Valley


Aspiring student entrepreneurs and innovators are invited to apply for the Michigan Technological University Silicon Valley Experience, a Spring Break tour of California Bay Area companies that includes meetings with entrepreneurs and Michigan Tech alumni who are leaders in their field. The deadline to apply is February 8th, 2019, and the application form can be found at SVE Experience 2019 Application. Up to fifteen students will be selected for this experience. Major funding for the trip is provided by Michigan Tech alum Kanwal Rekhi, as well as the Pavlis Honors College Innovation Center for Entrepreneurship and the School of Business and Economics in collaboration with 14 Floors.

Silicon Valley is known for its software giants, high-tech startups, Fortune 1000 companies, innovative culture and entrepreneurial ecosystem – the environment that affects local/regional entrepreneurship, such as culture, policies, talent, entrepreneurial organizations, regional resources, and networks.

The Silicon Valley Experience will showcase multiple perspectives of a day in the life of successful entrepreneurs, innovators, engineers, and business leaders. This tour will provide an interactive opportunity for students to discover more about a variety of industry settings, to sample various innovative corporate cultures through tours and presentations, and to meet and talk with successful alumni entrepreneurs.  

Students who apply and are accepted will have the opportunity to:

  • Tour companies like Google, Netflix, Hewlett Packard, Facebook, Ford, Clari, BYTON, Twilio, Autodesk, Waymo, the Porter Vineyard, as well as recent Michigan Tech alumnus startup, Handshake
  • Meet with entrepreneurs and innovators
  • Talk with Michigan Tech alumni who are leaders in their field
  • Get answers to your real-world business, innovation, and leadership questions
  • Gain firsthand knowledge of the enterprises that are revolutionizing global business

Lodging, some food, and ground transportation to and from toured companies will be covered. Students will be responsible for arranging and paying for their own air travel. As part of the student application, students will create a 2-minute video describing how they will share their experience with the Michigan Technological University community upon completion of their travel in order to positively contribute to our entrepreneurial ecosystem. Students may apply for a limited travel scholarship to help cover the cost of air travel. If you have any questions, please contact Lisa Casper (lcasper@mtu.edu). 

Congratulations to the Bob Mark Business Model Competition Winners

By Amy Karagiannakis

Pavlis Honors student, Deanna Springgay, presenting her business model for Little Trainer.
Pavlis Honors student, Deanna Springgay, presenting her business model for Little Trainer.

The 2018 Bob Mark Business Model Competition took place Wednesday, December 5 in the Opie Library. The Competition was hosted by the Innovation Center for Entrepreneurship, a collaboration between Pavlis Honors College, School of Business and Economics, and Vice President for Research Office.

Lavanya Ajexh Kumar presenting on her web-based stress management program, AlzWell
Lavanya Ajexh Kumar presenting on her web-based stress management program, AlzWell

There were more than 20 participants that made up 15 teams from various majors and disciplines who pitched to a panel of judges comprised of President Koubek, faculty, and community members. Ideas ranged from hypothermia preventing life jackets to a web-based stress management program. Participants had five minutes to pitch their ideas and present their business model. The judging panel then had time following the presentation to ask questions and provide valuable feedback to our young entrepreneurs.

Pavlis Honors student, Gary Tropp accepts the First Place award from Dean Johnson. Tropp also won the MTEC SmartZone Game Changer award.
Pavlis Honors student, Gary Tropp accepts the First Place award from Dean Johnson. Tropp also won the MTEC SmartZone Game Changer award.

The winners of the 2018 Bob Mark Business Model Competition were:

  • First Place and MTEC SmartZone Game Changer Award – Gary Tropp (Computer Network & System Administration) for VARS (Virtual Advising Registering and Scheduling)
  • Second and Third Place – Tie between Mayank Bagaria (Mechanical Engineering) for Vakya and Karuna Rana (Environmental and Energy Policy) for Reality Check
  • Audience Favorite – Nate LaJoie (Finance) and Michael Betz (Management) for Backpack Keg
  • Honorable Mention – Deanna Springgay (Biochemistry and Molecular Biology) for Little Trainer
  • Honorable Mention – Russ Crofton (Mechanical Engineering Technology) for Moonlight Cycles

Congratulations to all of our winners and participants, and thank you to our panel of distinguished judges for donating their time and expertise. The Innovation Center for Entrepreneurship would also like to thank MTEC SmartZone and Arroyo Networks for their support and prize contributions. Photos from the event can be viewed and downloaded here.

Karuna Rana presenting Reality Check, an app to verify product sustainability.
Karuna Rana presenting Reality Check, an app to verify product sustainability. Rana tied for second and third place.

The Bob Mark Competition is part of Husky Innovate, a series of workshops and competitions that guide students through key phases of business development while emphasizing strategies for success. More information on upcoming Spring Husky Innovate events can be found at mtu.edu/husky-innovate.