Hosted by the Berthiaume Center for Entrepreneurship, the four-part Innovation Challenge began with The Minute Pitch on Wednesday, Oct. 16. In front of an audience of nearly 200 students, faculty, staff and supporters, 26 ventures gave 60-second pitches of their startup idea. Determined by a panel of industry expert judges, $2,500 in prize money was awarded to the first-, second- and third-place teams and the audience choice selection.
Improved Insulin Delivery (IID), developed by Connor MacFarlane (chemical engineering), was awarded first place and audience choice for a prize of $1,250. IID is an improved insulin delivery system for all insulin-dependent diabetics that reduces pain, plastic waste, the amount of supplies need to carry, and the amount of time spent managing the disease - allowing for a life with increased happiness and freedom.
IRON Weight Lifting Tracker, pitched by Elijah Mishkind (marketing), earned second place and $750. The app provides weekly workout routines based on the user's customized goal and tracks users' statistics and displays them in a custom profile and user-friendly designed graphs to help users progress in the gym.
Snack Shapes, LLC, led by Mitchell Culler (PhD candidate, food science), finished third and was awarded $500. The company’s first product, Temgrams, is a delicious (and nutritious) geometric puzzle-shaped snack that nourishes the body and mind by encouraging children (or anyone young at heart) to play with their food.
Next up in the four-part Innovation Challenge series is The Seed Pitch, set for Wednesday, Nov. 20. This competition simulates the closed-door pitch process and $15,000 in prizes will be awarded as determined by the panel of judges. Applications close November 5.
Judges: Jean Coyle (Carl Fisher Company, CEO), Juline Mills (Westfield State, Dean), Claudia Pazmany (Amherst Area Chamber of Commerce, Executive Director), Jim Pearson (Innovation Accelerator, CEO), Lenny Underwood (Upscale Socks, Founder), Michelle Wirth (Mercedes-Benz Springfield, Co-owner and CMO)
Sponsors: EY, The Heiser Family, Norman “Bud” Robertson, Kumar Ganapathy, Jeff Glassman, Darn It!, John & Sally Burke, Joe Suyemoto, Jerry O'Connor