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Annual BEAR Innovation Competition Recognizes Student Entrepreneurship

This spring, the U-Imagine Center for Integrative and Entrepreneurial Studies held its fifth annual BEAR (Be Entrepreneurial and Roar) Innovation competition, an event that looks for the best entrepreneurial ideas to meet a market or social need.

Participants can submit ideas for anything ranging from a product or service to an artistic venture or awareness campaign.

The competition begins in February and culminates in April, giving students time to polish their ideas and make any alterations they want to before presentation time. It also gives them time to work one-on-one with entrepreneur-in-residence Maureen Cumpstone, who offers guidance to students throughout the process.

“Our goal at the U-Imagine Center is to help all teams execute their ideas as successfully as possible, using mentors to guide the competitors through each stage of the competition,” Cumpstone shared.

This year 12 teams participated, submitting written proposals, completing oral presentations and a pitch before final decisions were made to award the over $10,000 in total cash prizes intended to fund and help develop the winners’ entrepreneurial ideas.

This year’s first place winner, biochemistry and molecular biology major Brendan Cherrey ’20, aims to provide a better way for tutors and students to connect with his company Real Time Tutoring, LLC. He hopes to use the $3,500 prize money to designate additional resources to connect with the community and expose them to the benefits of his idea.

“My original goal was to provide a solution for talented college students that have a desire to work but an inability to do so,” Cherrey explained. “With my company, tutors create their own schedules in order to accommodate for their academic commitments, and students receive guidance from the most knowledgeable individuals in the requested subjects.”

Cherrey describes Real Time Tutoring as an online tutoring company that is focused on a personalized experience for all students. Students are assigned one or more tutors who will work with each students’ unique needs and schedules. Lessons are conducted through interactive video communications software and are able to adapt to student needs by considering their learning styles and providing supplemental materials.

Additional prizes were awarded to second place contestants Elena Ngo ’19, Charles Lyding ’19, and Michael Anthony ’20 for their work on The Nature App and to third place winners Kathleen Schultz ’22 and Alexa Lewis ’22 for SugarSharks and Co. Awards for the Best Oral Presentation and the Ready, Set, Go Award were also presented. —By Mary Lobo ’15