The Institute for Entrepreneurship utilizes its strength in collaborating to introduce inventive minds to hands-on product development. FGCU students have taken their entrepreneurial education to the next level by competing in the below business plan competitions:
On March 30th and 31st, 2017, FGCU’s Institute for Entrepreneurship hosted the second annual Governor’s Cup of Florida Business Model Competition, a statewide business plan and pitch competition featuring student teams from 11 Florida Universities and Colleges. Student venture teams were chosen and sponsored by their Universities to travel to Fort Myers to compete against the other 10 Universities participating in the competition.
Stanley Stouder, founder of Marine Energy Solutions LLC (MES), represented FGCU along with team members Austin Engle and Joe Rodriguez at the 2017 Governor's Cup competition. After receiving first place at FGCU's Business and Entrepreneurship Club Pitch Off Competition in February, Stouder's team pivoted to form their business model around simpler and more sustainable dock energy solutions. MES went on to win $10,000 in seed funding through the Institute for Entrepreneurship's Runway Program.
In 2016, the University of Tampa hosted the inaugural Governor’s Cup, which is sponsored and run by the Round Table of Entrepreneurship Educators of Florida (REEF). REEF is an organization that forms a strategic partnership between educators, thought leaders and students throughout Florida’s higher education community.
First, second, and third place winners of the annual Governor’s Cup are awarded a monetary prize. The 2017 prizes totaled $10,000, and were awarded to the winners to use in their budding businesses. The winning University also gets to take home the esteemed Governor’s Cup to be proudly displayed at their University until the next annual Governor’s Cup Competition.
Each year in May, the IFE sends a team of students to compete in the Florida state competition with teams from other universities and from the commmunity for early stage funding competition. The competition includes undergraduate, graduate, and post doctorate teams, as well as revenue generating startups. FGCU's team was the first undergraduate team to win the Florida Venture Forum in May 2013.
Stanley Stouder, founder of Marine Energy Solutions LLC (MES), and his team represented FGCU at the 2017 Florida Venture Forum competition. MES develops simpler and more sustainable dock energy solutions. MES went on to win $10,000 in seed funding through the IFE's Runway Program.
The Hult Prize Competition is a nation-wide business model and pitch competition where students are tasked with solving a large social issue, such as immigration and world hunger/poverty. The competition requires student teams to create a scalable business model that can create new solutions to solve the problem. Each competing university has their own competition and selects one winner to attend the regional competition. From the five regional competitions, one team is selected from each region to receive 2 months of intense training before competing in the final competition. The first place winner is awarded $1,000,000 to start the venture.
In 2016, student teams were tasked with solving the immigration/refugee problem, and six teams competed at FGCU to participate in the next level of the regional competition for the Hult Prize held in March 2017.
Kebel Arias, founder of Art's Recyclable Knowledge LLC (ARK) won this year’s competition at FGCU and moved on to the national competition held in March. The team developed a low cost wi-fi that provides refugees access to vital information. ARK continued in the Runway Program and won $6,000 in seed funding to launch his business. Arias plans to bring the product to market within the next couple of years.
The Daveler Pitch Competition offers undergraduate students from across the state an opportunity to boost their knowledge of business operations, gain insight into entrepreneurial venture creation and growth, and win cash prizes. The goal is to encourage students to start new businesses, teach business skills and to network with successful entrepreneurs.
All of the invitation-only participants, 20 in total, were named Daveler Fellows and awarded $2,500. Eight of the 20 competitors who presented exxceptional pitches were named Daveler Scholars and awarded an additional $2,500 cash prize. A total of $77,250 was awarded.
Caio Pimenta and Vinícius Fernandez (left) co-founded Candoo, a mobile application that delivers your favorite beverages to your doorstep. Fernandez and Pimenta developed their business through the Institute for Entrepreneurship's Runway Program.
Michael Kunchal and Jakub Adamowicz (right) co-founded RoomDig, a mobile application exclusively for college students that allows students to find compatible roommates and housing. The team also received the Daveler Scholars distinction, earning an additional $5,000 to build their business. RoomDig went on to win $3,000 in seed funding through IFE's Runway Program.
The Eagle Biz Awards were established in 2007 and represent a pitch and prototype competition for students completing the New Venture Laboratory course. Students are required to identify a problem, design a prototype, and develop a plan to start the business. Depending on yearly resources, IFE provides cash awards for the winning teams.
The spring 2017 Eagle Biz Awards featured both New Venture Laboratory students and the Institute's Runway Program students. Over 35 student teams presented their business models between the two groups, but only the New Venture Lab students competed for prizes.
The TeleTeddy team won 1st place in the Engineering/Entrepreneurship category after creating a teddy bear with screen and camera technology, allowing parents to see and communicate with their children from a distance. Team members included: Andreia Paulino, Alec Houston, Oscar Camacho, Ashley DePaul, Kaelee Edwards and Charles Gonzalez.
Two teams focused on software solutions for college student involvement and retention. One group, called Happening, placed 2nd in the Engineering/Entrepreneurship category and included Luis DeJoy, Zyon Simmons, Francesca Schreck, Sarah Anthony, Patrick Poblete and Scott Schaffer. The other group, called Connect U, won the People's Choice award and included Jason Goodrich, Shane Masse, Robert Galler, Gregg Gottfried, Mallory Lapp and Theresa Long. The Eagle Views team received 1st place for the Engineering category after creating a location-based software solution to navigate college campuses. Team members included Matthew Besedick, Tyler Bratton, Kyler Briscoe, Connor Burgess and Graham Miles.
Over twenty teams, made up of Entrepreneurship and Engineering students who were enrolled in the New Venture Lab course, competed in the fall 2016 Eagle Biz Awards.
Students who compete in the Eagle Biz Awards are chosen to move on to larger competitions such as the Governor’s Cup, Florida Venture Forum, EIX, and are offered a spot to continue with their ventures in the Runway Program. Three teams from the course are moving forward with their businesses: Student-run business ILLUMITIZE is currently beta testing their product in Lee Memorial, and the other two teams just won $10,000 and $15,000 in seed funding through the Runway Program.
The IFE sponsored an undergraduate entrepreneurship student team, ILLUMITIZE, that emerged from the New Venture Laboratory course in fall 2015, to enter their product into the USF Innovative Health Product Competition in April 2016. The competitors were predominantly masters and doctoral students in the statewide competition.
ILLUMITIZE is a student owned hand-hygiene sensor designed to eliminate the spread of patient infection due to poor hygiene by others. They won second place for the most innovative health product, winning $5,000. ILLUMITIZE has partnered with a physician, and is currently beta testing their product in Lee Memorial Health Systems.