Thursday, May 5, 2011

The Big Idea Competition Showcases Pitt Student Entrepreneurs

Student Entrepreneurs Shine at Pitt

The Big Idea Competition brought together over 250 student entrepreneurs, faculty and alumni, regional entrepreneurs, investors, program sponsors and champions of $20,000 was awarded to our emerging business leaders. A special thank you to the Bob and Rita Randall Family and The Charity Randall Foundation and the ongoing support and dedication.

Below you will find a summary of the Big Idea winners. If any of you would like to be connected with any of the winners, please contact the University of Pittsburgh. Thank you for your collective energy and enthusiasm as we continue to build a powerful entrepreneurial network to support the entrepreneurs of tomorrow!

Business Growth Idea

First Place: Justin Mares (BA Finance '12) RoommateFit LLC provides colleges and universities a matching service for effectively pairing incoming freshman roommates via a research-based personality test.

Second Place: Aaron Ingley (BSBA Management and BA in History '11) and Julia Erickson (BA Business and Political Science '12) Barre LLC develops, markets, and distributes real food bars, with unprocessed raw ingredients, to dance and dance-related studios such as yoga and Pilates.

Third Place: Karleen Leveille (MBA Strategy '12) KLeveille Entertainment and Publishing is a multi-service boutique entertainment company specializing in original programming, casting, show development, image, and television consulting.

Interdisciplinary Team Idea

First Place: Benjamin Dippel (BSBA Accounting and Finance '12), Maxwell Pless (BS Mechanical Engineering '12), Thorin Tobiassen (BS Mechanical Engineering '11) and Micah Toll (BS Mechanical Engineering '11) The Pulse Motors "Personal Electric Vehicle," along with a novel business model, will change the way people commute around cities.

Second Place: Robert Gradoville (MS Civil Engineering '11), Kevin Horn (BA Finance and International Business '11), Barbara Pavliakova (MPH Epidemiology '11), James Price (MID Development Planning and Environmental Sustainability '11) and Daniel Scarnecchia (MPIA Human Security '11) YAKU Consulting is a socially responsible business enterprise that enhances the value of new and existing village water infrastructure in developing countries.

Third Place: Melanie Rodrigues (PhD Molecular Biology '12), Steven Ruperto (MBA '11) and Donald Taylor (PhD Bioengineering '13 and MBA alum '05) Hot Metal Brewing LLC is a craft brewing company creating recipes symbolic of Western Pennsylvania history - an American Pale Ale called Elevation, a Strong Scotch Ale called Highlander, a Dark India Pale Ale called Shades and an Oatmeal Stout called Shardt.

Product/Service Idea

First Place: Daniel Bishop (MD/PhD Biomedical Engineering '17), James Fisher (MD/PhD Chemical Engineering '17), Daniel Ludwig (MD '14) and Jason Sanders (MD/PhD Epidemiology '14) The RoomQ System, a technology to improve hand hygiene in hospitals, is designed to reduce hospital acquired infections (HAIs).

Second Place: Chengliu Li (MS Electrical Engineering '11) eFinger, a simple unobstructive device that tells a computer the posture of one's hands, consists of tiny magnets attached to finger tips and an electronic wristband.

Third Place: Joshua Stachel (PhD Electrical Engineering '12)

The cardiac rhythm management device (CRMD) interference mitigation technique is a simple method of modifying a radio signal such as those in RFID, Wi-Fi, or cellular telephones - the goal of this modification is to mitigate electromagnetic interference on CRMDs such as pacemakers and internal defibrillators.


Oreste "Rusty" Scioscia (BS Engineering '11)

The Safe-Jump System is a brand new and safe alternative to the trial and error method of judging the necessary speed to clear a ski jump.

Dr. Michael S. Lehman

Director, Student Entrepreneurship
Institute for Entrepreneurial Excellence
The Power to Prosper℠
University of Pittsburgh, Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business
1800 Wesley W. Posvar Hall, 230 South Bouquet Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15260
Phone 412-648-7873 Fax-412-648-1636

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