Andrew Hunter, low-cost solar-powered LED lamps for the developing world
Brilliant student ideas contributed to the success of the second IdeaBounce competition, a contest developed to give students the opportunity to voice their innovative ideas and receive feedback from a panel of entrepreneurial judges. The diversity of talent, skills, and disciplines that participated was tremendous, as eight colleges and eighteen unique majors from across the campus formed the talented pool of IdeaBounce entrants.
Many students who participated in IdeaBounce last spring enthusiastically came back for a second chance to present their ideas, including Praveen Gurpur, who recently completed his PhD in Cell and Structural Biology from Illinois. “I think the IdeaBounce competition provided a perfect platform for me to test my ideas. To know the reactions of the judges who were business owners and venture capitalists, and the public, was something I am grateful for,” said Praveen.
“The first IdeaBounce competition, where I reached the finals, but could not win, enabled me to learn quite a few lessons; I realized that it is not just the strength of an idea that counts, but the style of presentation, the body-language, the confidence-levels, all matter. I applied these lessons when I got selected for the finals for the second time. And they worked! I was one of the four winners. I certainly believe that the IdeaBounce competition is in itself a great idea, allowing us budding entrepreneurs to enable our ideas to hatch, see the light of day, and hopefully see them fly high. I learned quite a bit about the two-minute elevator pitch, and how to stress the ‘selling points’ of an idea in two minutes flat. I am thankful to the AEL and the university, and all the people that organized this competition.”
Entrance into the competition was simple; all it took was a great idea and a willingness to share it with entrepreneurial peers and judges. The students did a wonderful job of formulating their ideas into captivating two-minute elevator pitches. “We heard presentations ranging from a custom LCD advertising company, to 360 degree virtual interior designing, to a wireless mouse controlled by your head motions,” said Academy Executive Director, Tony Mendes. “You could see the spirit and enthusiasm shared by each of these young entrepreneurs, as they each touted the benefits of their breakthrough ideas. Wouldn’t it be great to see some of these outstanding entrepreneurial dreams develop and appear on store shelves in the future?”
It was a difficult decision to narrow down the competition to just five finalists, but the winning ideas are listed below, and the finalists were each presented with $250 and the opportunity to network over dinner with the contest judges that night. Our congratulations to the final winners, Stephen Anderson, Paul Davidson, Brian Durbin, Yun Fu, Praveen Gurpur, and Andrew Hunter. Best wishes for future success turning your innovative ideas into successful entrepreneurial ventures.
Final Winning Ideas
- Paul Davidson & Stephen Anderson: An innovative system for bioremediation of agricultural chemicals for environmental sustainability
- Brain Durbin: Creation of a specialty retail shop that sells alternative energy and energy saving products as well as providing advice about installation and repair
- Yun Fu: Development of a head driven virtual computer mouse
- Praveen Gurpur: Creation of a color-coded blood pressure meter, to enable illiterate people to test themselves.
- Andrew Hunter: Low cost solar powered L.E.D. lamps for the developing world.