The first place team pictured, from left, Bryan McMeen, Drew Milton, Matthew Ingram, and Andrew Graham
Auburn University’s Thomas Walter Center, along with the university’s Business-Engineering-Technology (B-E-T) program and the new Auburn Student Inventor’s Club, recently hosted the National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance (NCIIA) Invention2Venture (i2v) Apprentice Challenge workshop, a program to equip students with entrepreneurial skills. It is the first event of its kind to be held in partnership with a university in the state of Alabama.
Participants heard from a panel of entrepreneurs and completed a 72-hour challenge to select a product or service, sell it and produce a profit using a $100 seed investment. Each team was required to return the investment, as well as provide evidence of their net profits over costs and original investment. Student teams were evaluated on profits, scalability, uniqueness and moral appeal by a panel of judges that included Mary Secor of the NCIIA; Paul Swamidass, director of Auburn’s Thomas Walter Center and B-E-T program; John Weete, Auburn’s assistant vice president for technology transfer; and Dan Gropper, associate dean for Auburn’s MBA program.
The first place team, which included Auburn students Andrew Graham, Drew Milton, Matthew Ingram and Bryan McMeen, was awarded $1,000 for their low-cost, make-it-yourself posters sold before the Auburn football game on Nov. 13 versus the Georgia Bulldogs and toilet paper rolls, which were sold to roll Toomer’s Corner following Auburn’s victory. The second place team, which included Auburn students Emir Adanur, Blake Hudson, Matt Jager and Grant Moore, earned $500 for their team’s sales of toilet paper to roll Toomer’s Corner.
“Based on the success of the panel and student response to it, we would like to include a similar panel in the future,” said Swamidass. “The students performed well during the 72-hour challenge, coming up with unique products and effectively selling them.”
Invention2Venture is offered in partnership with the NCIIA, as well as sponsorship from Walmart Distribution Center, PaloAlto Software, Auburn Research and Technology Park, the Samuel Ginn College of Engineering and Auburn’s MBA program in the College of Business.
“NCIIA provides a great template for use by universities wanting to offer similar events for promoting invention and entrepreneurship among students,” said Swamidass. “As a result of this event, many Auburn students are closer to becoming entrepreneurs.”
Visit http://www.invention2venture.org/auburn2010 for more information, photos and videos from the event.