Entrepreneurial innovation took middle stage on Thursday, April 8 with the primary annual Torero Entrepreneurship Challenge (TECh).
Hosted by the University of San Diego Shiley-Marcos School of Engineering’s Etrack program, the occasion provided 5 scholar groups the chance to pitch technology-based enterprise concepts for the possibility to win as much as $45,000 in seed funding.
A extremely interactive digital occasion, the night kicked off with Dean Chell Roberts, PhD, introducing this one-of-a-kind entrepreneurial competitors that introduced collectively interdisciplinary scholar groups from throughout campus, with startup pitches that had expertise on the middle of their enterprise concepts. TECh emcee, Professor Jeff Teza, launched the 5 groups — Discrete Solar Technologies, SeaMe, Second Wind, Sunlight U and Womenly — who earned their place as finalists on the occasion from an preliminary pool of twelve candidates and eight semi-finalists.
Teza shared private tales about every workforce and the entrepreneurial mindset every demonstrated. This “persistent curiosity, connection to first-principle science, and creation of value for customers within the structure of an organization,” had been all parts Teza recognized within the progressive concepts being pitched.
As an esteemed panel of judges from trade and from throughout campus deliberated the end result of those 5 finalist awardings, Dean Roberts and Director of Development and Alumni Relations Elisa Lurkis shared tales and video footage honoring the donors behind the 2 TECh awards — the Larry Kull Endowed Student Award in Engineering and Entrepreneurship and the Starpoint Award.
Former Senior Vice President at SAIC, Randy Vosti, labored straight with mates and former colleagues to honor Larry Kull, former SAIC COO and President, after his passing in a far reaching method. “USD had the right combination. It was a smaller university for an award like this [and] wouldn’t get lost in the shuffle. USD represents the kind of values Larry would have embraced.”
Startpoint Award co-founder and TECh choose Carl Delia was “excited to see the level of invention and innovation by the students.” He additionally spoke of the spirit of the Starpoint Award as a approach to “celebrate the contribution of the entrepreneurial vision of our students and to our society.”
A dwell People’s Choice Award ballot gave the greater than 200 friends, contributors, households and mates an interactive approach to vote for his or her favourite groups.
In the top, not solely did the judges converse, however the individuals additionally spoke loud and clear. Discrete Solar Technologies walked away because the grand winner with $12,000 in award cash for the Larry Kull Endowed Student Award in Engineering and Entrepreneurship Gold Award and one other $2,000 for the People’s Choice Award — totaling $14,000 in seed cash.
Discrete Solar co-founders Marley Collins and Sabrina Smith introduced their video pitch representing their design workforce who goals to deliver renewable power sources “anywhere you are brave enough to venture.” In explicit, their most certainly clientele will likely be from the choice way of life D-I-Y renewable power market.
After being awarded the Larry Kull Gold Award, Collins was thrilled with the night’s outcomes. “Thank you so much for all of the votes and for believing in us. We really appreciate the support.”
Brittany Kirk of Sunshine U, which gives an inexpensive, accessible on-line choice to drive trauma and psychological well being innovation, was additionally awarded $12,000 because the Starpoint Gold Award winner.
“I am still in a bit of shock that I have enough money to take Sunlight U to the finish line and I am elated. I feel like I’ve been working very hard at this for over a year, trying to figure ways to beg, borrow and steal to make it a reality.” Kirk provides, “this funding is going to do tremendous things, and take some of the pressure off and speed up development.”
SeaMe Search & Rescue was awarded $6,000 for the Larry Kull Endowed Student Award in Engineering and Entrepreneurship Silver Award; Second Wind was awarded $6,000 for the Startpoint Silver Award; and Womenly was awarded $3,000 for Best Emerging Company. The three semi finalist groups, HUGS, How Bout Now and twrvl, didn’t take part within the TECh occasion, however had been awarded $1,000 to assist proceed to construct on the momentum of their work.
Etrack co-faculty lead Venkat Shastri, PhD closed out the occasion with delight and elation. He began the USD engineering entrepreneurship program again in 2016 and mirrored on how far this system has come.
“It has been my complete pleasure to work with all of these incredible student teams, our generous donors and our dedicated judges throughout this TECh journey. We have had participation from three different schools across campus, and the market needs that they cover are truly inspiring! This program was just a twinkle in the eye of our Dean five years ago. Thanks to his indulgence, we are here today. And, what’s more, this is just the beginning!”
— Michelle Sztupkay