The contest, presented by the U-Imagine Center for Integrative and Entrepreneurial Studies, allows students to develop their own original innovative solutions that satisfy market or social needs. It fosters entrepreneurial skills and provides further opportunity for students to bring their ideas to the marketplace.
This year’s contest featured 13 teams comprised of 25 students from multiple academic majors and minors taking on projects inspired by a variety of industries. Chris Carey ’08, vice president of supply chain at Clemens Food Group, was the keynote speaker.
Award winners were:
Allie Cook ’18 (environmental studies) and Heath Hidlay ’18 (environmental studies) for designing a multifunctional food forest approach for the Whittaker Environmental Research Station. (First prize: $3,500).
Tommy Armstrong ’20 (English) for High Education, a series of narrative films about the role of education today. (Second prize: $2,500).
Robin Gow ’18 (English) for Trans-cendent Connection, a nonprofit organization that pairs transgender and gender nonconforming college students with transgender and gender nonconforming middle school and high school students as a way of supporting younger trans individuals. (Third prize: 1,500).
Saloni Parikh ’18 (biochemistry and molecular biology) and Michael Esposito ’18 (chemistry) for their project Health Alliance for Migrant Laborers, which provides comprehensive health services to migrant laborers working in the United States. (Best oral presentation: $500).
Erikson Hirn ’21 (environmental studies) for an environmental photograph venture. (“Ready, Set, Go” award for an idea that is well developed and ready to be implemented: $2,000).
The students were judged by local business leaders and entrepreneurs, who asked questions of the young innovators and provided immediate feedback while pointing out possible pitfalls and highlighting the potential of the business plan.
Students also completed a market analysis, marketing plan and financial analysis along with their proposal.
This year, the judges included Rob Gilfillan ’91, co-founder and president of Cenero; Dawn Chavous ’01, president of Chavous Consulting, LLC; Jen Cohen Crompton ’05, owner of Something Creative, LLC. and Fuel Cycle Fitness; and Chris Biddle ’85 vice president of professional services at IntegriChain.
The BEAR Innovation competition is generously supported by Will Abele ’61–By Ed Moorhouse