Tag Archives: innovation

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.


Bob Mark Business Model Competition is December 5

The Innovation Center for Entrepreneurship is hosting the 2018 Bob Mark Business Model Competition on Wednesday, December 5 from 7-9 p.m. in the Opie Library. Students can apply to compete here.

The 2018 Bob Mark competition includes an idea pitch and a business model description. This event takes place later in the year so that contestants will have had the opportunity to develop their business model through participation in Husky Innovate workshops. Using Lean Launchpad methods and the Business Model Canvas, students will share insights from customer interviews that inform their business model.

Prizes will be awarded to the most scalable and actionable business model pitches. Using prize money, students have a chance to take their entrepreneurial idea to the next stage of development further preparing them for additional opportunities such as competing at the New Venture Competition held this April at Central Michigan University.

President Koubek will serve as a distinguished judge alongside other entrepreneurially minded faculty, staff, and community members.

Prizes for the Bob Mark Business Model Competition include:

First Prize – $2,000 + $100 services from MTEC SmartZone

Second Prize – $1,000 + $100 services from MTEC SmartZone

Third Prize – $500 + $100 services from MTEC SmartZone

Honorable Mention (2 prizes) – $250 each

Audience Favorite – $250

MTEC SmartZone prize – $1000

This event is a tribute to the late Bob Mark, professor of practice in the School of Business and Economics. Mark founded the Elevator Pitch Competition and brought the Business Plan Competition to Michigan Tech. The Bob Mark Elevator Pitch Competition and other efforts support his entrepreneurial spirit and that continues to live on in students, faculty, and staff.

Students who participated in the Idea Pitch Competition on October 17 are strongly encouraged to apply to compete in the Bob Mark Business Model Competition. Students should apply by submitting this form no later than midnight on Wednesday, November 21st (before Thanksgiving break). The top 15 applicants will be selected to participate in the Bob Mark Business Model Competition. Students who upload a business model canvas to their application will be given priority consideration. Student guidelines, scoring criteria, and a blank Business Model Canvas can be found at mtu.edu/honors/ice/husky-innovate.

Erica Austin and Kyle Schuhknecht presenting their idea, Mr. Green Tips, an eco-friendly informational application at the Idea Pitch Competition in October.

The 2018 Bob Mark Business Model Competition is part of Husky Innovate, a series of workshops and events that build on each other with the intention of guiding students through key phases of innovation or business development while emphasizing evidence-based strategies for success. Bob Mark Business Model Competition 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.

 


Michigan Tech Students Named University Innovation Fellows

Congratulations to Cara Hardin, Lexi Steve, Gi West, and Cameron Philo for being named University Innovation Fellows (UIF) by Stanford University’s Hasso Plattner Institute of Design (d.school). This global program trains student leaders to create new opportunities for their peers to engage with innovation, entrepreneurship, design thinking and creativity.

The University Innovation Fellows Program empowers students to become agents of change at Michigan Tech. Fellows work to ensure that their peers gain the knowledge, skills and attitudes required to make a positive impact on the world.

“During training, Fellows gain skills, mindsets and knowledge to face ever-more complex challenges at their schools and in the world,” said Humera Fasihuddin, co-director of the University Innovation Fellows program. “They learn frameworks like design thinking and lean startup, which help them analyze their campus ecosystems, understand the needs of others, and uncover opportunities for change. As a result, Fellows design learning experiences that better prepare peers for their careers.”

Cara Hardin is a third year student majoring in Mechanical Engineering. Steve, West, and Philo are all Pavlis Honors Pathway Program students. Lexi Steve serves as an Honors Ambassador and is currently studying abroad in Spain this Fall semester. Gi West is the Student Director for The Alley makerspace. Cameron Philo recently competed and won first prize and audience favorite in the Husky Innovate Idea Pitch Competition.

Hardin, Steve, West, and Philo were sponsored by Pavlis Honors College Assistant Dean, Mary Raber. Michigan Tech’s Innovation Center for Entrepreneurship funded the Fellows’ six week online training. These students will have the opportunity to travel to the University Innovation Fellows Silicon Valley Meetup in California this coming Spring 2019. During the meetup, Fellows will take part in immersive experiences at Stanford’s d.school and Google, and work with leaders in education and industry. They will participate in experiential workshops and exercises focused on topics including movement building, innovation spaces, design of learning experiences, and new models for change in higher education.

“In traditional education systems, students have to wait until they graduate to make a difference. We don’t believe that,” said Leticia Britos Cavagnaro, co-director of the University Innovation Fellows program. “Students are uniquely equipped to make a difference while they’re in school; they know best what other students want and need. Our Fellows are working with their peers, faculty and administrators to co-design a different educational experience and bring about change where it’s needed most.”

Tech’s new Fellows will advocate for lasting change by creating opportunities for students across campus to engage in more activities and events that inspire innovation, entrepreneurship, design thinking and creativity.

 


Business Model Canvas Bootcamp

The Innovation Center for Entrepreneurship will be hosting Business Model Canvas Bootcamp, a two-part workshop on November 14 and 28 from 7-9 pm in Rekhi 214. Using the Business Model Canvas, students will work with members of the Michigan Tech I-Corps Site Program teaching team to develop a business model for their technology or idea.

The Business Model Canvas is a tool developed by Alexander Osterwalder & Yves Pigneur. It emphasizes the relationships of the nine components of a business model:

  1. Customer Segments
  2. Value Propositions
  3. Channels
  4. Customer Relationships
  5. Revenue Streams
  6. Key Resources
  7. Key Activities
  8. Key Partnerships and
  9. Cost Structure.

Check out this short video for a brief overview of the Business Model Canvas. The idea is that business plans are static while a successful business model needs to be dynamic. A successful business venture requires a tool that allows one to quickly assess the impact of changes and adjust accordingly.

The I-Corps teaching team will guide students through the process of developing their unique business model. In this workshop, you will map out your canvas with specific focus on the value proposition and the customer segments. After developing a hypothesis around your the nine components, focusing on the customer segment and its “pain points”.  From there you will then test your hypothesis through customer interviews or customer discovery.  Does your solution create value for your customer segment? Based on the customer discovery process you will understand if you need to adjust your value proposition and pivot.

Business Model Bootcamp is part of Husky Innovate, a series of workshops and events that build on each other with the intention of guiding students through key phases of innovation or business development to help them prepare for future competitions, as well as future intrapreneurial and/or entrepreneurial business ventures. Registration for this workshop is required.

Students who participated in the Idea Pitch Competition and/or plan to compete in the upcoming Bob Mark Business Model Competition, are strongly encouraged to register for Business Model Canvas Bootcamp. There is a cap of 25 contestants for our Bob Mark Business Model Competition. Priority will be given to those who have completed the Business Model Boot Camp. Husky Innovate is hosted by the Innovation Center for Entrepreneurship, a collaboration between the School of Business & Economics, Pavlis Honors College, and the Vice President for Research Office.

 


Introducing Husky Innovate Workshops and Pitch Competitions

The Innovation Center for Entrepreneurship at Michigan Tech, a collaboration between the Pavlis Honors College and the School of Business and Economics, announces a new series of workshops and events for students called Husky Innovate. Husky Innovate is a succession of workshops and competitions guiding students through key phases of innovation and business development, while emphasizing evidence-based strategies for success.

Semi Final Presentation for CMU New Venture Competition

Students are encouraged to participate in any/all events of their choosing, whether they’re interested in learning more about entrepreneurship and innovation to distinguish their résumé, or they want to start their own business and build knowledge, expertise and confidence through participation.

Ideate and create

Students who challenge themselves to pitch their idea at a national, state or regional competition will find the Husky Innovate track provides a solid foundation for their goals. The workshops and events emphasize experiential learning and provide the opportunity to get valuable feedback from peers and mentors.

IMG_5458

The Idea Pitch Competition will be held 7 to 9 p.m. Oct. 17 in Fisher 138. During the two-minute pitch competition students will share their favorite innovative and disruptive idea in an interactive, community setting. Cash prizes will be awarded. Students should register early;  participation is limited to the first 30 registrants.

See more events and upcoming workshops at mtu.edu/husky-innovate.


Michigan Tech Among 12 College Teams to Compete in Make 48 TV Series

Michigan Tech is one of twelve U.S. college teams Make48 recently announced to compete in Season 3 of the national invention TV series. Make48 is a nationwide invention competition documentary series that gives teams exactly 48 hours to come up with an idea, create a prototype and promotional video and then present their idea to a panel of judges. Three winning teams are chosen and the remainder of the series highlights the process of trying to get the products to market.

Other schools that will be competing along side Tech include Georgetown, Rice, Tulane, University of Nevada-Reno, University of Miami, University of Connecticut, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, University of Illinois-Champaign, K-State Polytech, and Kansas City Art Institute. The Michigan Tech team consists of Mike Gazdecki (material science and engineering), Patrick Guyon (mechanical and electrical engineering), Rachel Kolb (mechanical engineering), and Ryan Thompson (mechanical engineering). The team took fourth place in Michigan Tech’s 2018 Consumer Products Challenge for their single serve Margarita Machine. Twenty-six teams consisting of 3-5 Tech students received a Challenge Box filled with products supplied by corporate sponsors — Amway, 3M, and Kimberly-Clark. When asked about being selected to compete in Make48, Kolb shared, “I think I’m most looking forward to working with the team again. When we made our team for Consumer Products Day, none of us had worked together before, but we ended up having a blast. This will be the perfect opportunity to use the skills I learned in the UIF program to help the team!”

From left to right: Patrick, Michael, Rachel, Ryan
From left to right: Patrick, Michael, Rachel, Ryan

Filming will take place August 10th-12th at the Stanley Black and Decker Innovation Lab in Towson, MD, where the teams will compete in a 48-hour competition.

Stanley Black & Decker Makerspace in Towson, MD
Stanley Black & Decker Makerspace in Towson, MD

“Season three of Make48 is really exciting for us,” says Tim Perra, Vice President, Public Affairs for Stanley Black and Decker. “These students are in the midst of learning the skills needed to become innovators and entrepreneurs, and they’re going to be put to the test like never before in a 48-hour competition. We’re excited to welcome these students to our Makerspace and hopefully provide an atmosphere where they feel inspired to create the best products possible.”

Backed by industry giants like Stanley Black and Decker, Ace Hardware and QVC, Make48, which has now been picked up by 92% of American public television markets, is excited to turn the spotlight on students this time. “It will be intriguing to see what these young creative minds will invent in 48 hours. By bringing the collaboration of the Make48 tool technicians and Stanley’s state of the art innovation lab will no doubt leave this seasons judges with a hard task,” Make48 CEO, Tom Gray says.

Season 2 will premiere in September on local PBS/APT (American Public Television) stations across the country. You can catch season 1 by going to Amazon Prime Video, PBS.org or Make48.com. You can also find out more about Make48 by following them on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.