This year’s proposed ideas for the Innovative Idea Contest included non-profit organizations, clothing companies, applications for smart phones, a flexible portable speaker, a website to assist in college planning and first aid kits that are customizable depending on country.
This contest was started by Salwa Ammar, Ph.D. and dean of the School of Business, and Aileen Farrelly, assistant dean for the School of Business.
Ammar and Farrelly wanted to give MC students a place to propose business ideas and get professional feedback from a panel of judges.
On Mar. 8, four judges, comprised of alumni and business professionals, chose one winner for the social category and one winner for the business category.
This year’s social winner was the company Trek and the business winner was the smartphone application Angel Venture.
Trek was proposed by Meghan McKee, junior, with the goal of providing travelers with “reimagined first aid kits” that are specialized based on the country that will be visited.
McKee said that she thought of Trek after seeing an increase in solo millennial travelers who lacked medical care abroad.
She presented a sketch of a prototype for the first aid kit, estimates of investments and profits, explained challenges and tied her idea back to her passion for traveling.
Angel Venture was proposed by Daniel Hey, freshman, as an application for a smartphone that would assist companies in funding venture capital.
Hey said that he first had the idea for this app in the early Fall of 2015 but did not actually put it in writing until about two weeks ago.
Hey said that the contest was a good way to practice a future scenario that he might encounter in the real world.
“I think the experience was good for what you might be doing in the future, especially if you’re pitching ideas or if you’ll be pitching to prospective inventors,” Hey said.
With the $200 prize, Hey hopes to start funding the coding for his application.
Nancy Kelly, owner of a wholesale jewelry business and MC alumnus, was one of the four judges and has judged this contest once before.
Kelly said that she was impressed by proposals the first time that she judged but was even more impressed this year.
“I wish they [MC] did this when I went here because I think it’s a wonderful training ground and great learning experience,” Kelly said.
“I hope that the students and participants don’t look at it as criticism but really as support and advice because these are the kinds of questions that they’re going to be facing if they’re going to present these ideas out to the public.”
Carolyn Predmore, Ph.D. and marketing professor, was also another one of the judges for this year’s contest.
“This truly was the best year we’ve had so far,” Predmore said.
Predmore hopes that some of the students will present their ideas again next year because the young entrepreneurs will have been able to develop their ideas more fully.
“It was the fourth year and they [students] are much more advanced in their proposals than we have ever seen before. It was refreshing seeing the breadth of interests of the businesses,” Predmore said.