Idea Launchpad 2013 encourages entrepreneurship, innovation
Students from across campus shared their innovative and entrepreneurial ideas to compete for $800 in SEED money to take their ideas and make them a reality.
The student group SEED hosted this spring its annual Idea Launchpad event to encourage students to take their innovative and entrepreneurial ideas and make them into reality.
More than 20 teams entered the competition and four were chosen to move on to the final round. A panel of three judges consisting of Eric Hall from Elon’s exercise science department, Jane Mehringer from Elon’s Career Services team, and alumnus Ian Baltutis '08, founder of the Burlington-based company, Isolate-it, reviewed each presentation and selected this year's winners.
Each team was asked to use their presentations in order to address four questions:
- What problem are you solving?
- How will you make money?
- What resources do you need to get started?
- Who is your competition?
The fourth place finisher, Immanuel Bryant, presented his idea for, “Phoenix Relations: PR for the students, by the students”. As a strategic communications major, Immanuel encounters the problem of ‘online image’ for students on a daily basis. While he has been able to manage what comes up when you “Google” his name, he says the case is not the same for many university students, Elon included. People everywhere look towards Life Coaches, Personal Trainers and Nutritionists to help them with their physical appearance and personal success but today, the Internet has created another way for people to view you and increasingly students have lost opportunities because they haven’t paid proper attention to their online image. So think of “Phoenix Relations” as a personal coach for your online image.
Taking third place was a team out of our Engineering department at Elon who didn’t understand why solar panels had to be stationary. Working with other students in the engineering and environmental science departments, as well as their faculty advisors, Steve Moore, Richard D’Amato, and Scott Wolter, Alexander Papp and Willem Prins have created a Solar Powered Mobile Generator to power Elon’s “off-grid” activities. However, powering events such as College Coffee using green-energy wasn’t their only objective. They plan to use these generators to raise awareness and give students from the university level, all the way down to those attending Elon’s elementary school, the opportunity to learn about green-energy and what goes into making a solar powered mobile generator. Bringing all the schools of Elon together through the use of these generators, as well as bringing this technology to Elon’s affiliate engineering universities like, Duke, Notre Dame, Virginia Tech, and NC State to name a few, is where Alexander and Willem have set their sights and they are now $100.00 closer to reaching their goals with the completion of their first model.
Kimberly Temlak, a first-year Communications student finished second with her idea for, “Play Date: A University Sports App”. A long-time tennis player, Kimberly constantly ran into the issue of scheduling conflict with her friends and, as a two-player sport, that meant she couldn’t play the game at all. Even when she was able to find a partner with the same free-time, she tells the story of showing up at the courts only to find that Elon’s tennis team had them reserved for practice. Kimberly soon found that many people faced the same issue for tennis, soccer, basketball, and just about every other sport that requires more than one person to play. “Play Date” is designed to solve this problem giving people the ability to have the app find them a partner using the specifications they input (i.e. gender, skill level, competition level, etc.) and generate a time when their schedules correspond with the time that the courts, or fields, are open. Users will be given the ability to rate their opponents after their “playdate” is over creating a checks and balance system to ensure accurate player-profiles. Starting in universities, Kimberly will work with Campus Rec in order to create corresponding schedules for court and field availability and she hopes that with the right people, and the $200.00 seed money, she can develop an app that will address the problem that many athletes (competitive or not) face when trying to get out there and play.
The $500.00 grand prize went to Robert Menke and Eric Wiegand and their idea for “3Depot”. Presented in four parts, their website would be a home-base for people looking for anything 3D-printer related. They will give users that ability to locate the nearest 3D-printer, view designs that have been created in the past and print from other existing marketplaces, offer 3D-printer education, and create a community-feel through personal profiles, news, and virtual storefronts where users can interact with one another. This idea also enters the area of green-tech as they explained that 3D-printing could help in dramatically reducing the amount of plastic waste produced each year.