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At Innovative Idea Competition, unique partnerships turn technology into business

December 1, 2010 //

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Media Contact: Brandon Lausch, 215-204-4115, blausch@temple.edu

The Innovation and Entrepreneurship Institute (IEI) recently honored Temple students, faculty and alumni at its 13th annual Innovative Idea Competition Awards Reception.

Second-year MBA student Lev Davidson and his faculty partner, Dr. Eric Borguet, professor of chemistry from the College of Science and Technology, were awarded the grand prize of $1,000 cash and $1,500 in Microsoft products for their business, NANOpure Technologies.

NANOpure is working to create groundbreaking carbon nanotubes that are significantly purer in construction and require less time and money to produce than existing options. These nanotubes, which look simply like black sand to the naked eye, are 50,000 times smaller than the width of a human hair and 100 times stronger than steel – at just one-sixth the weight. The practical applications of the growing nanotechnology industry include flat-panel display and advanced water filtration systems.

When Davidson first began working on the project, these concepts were as foreign to him as to the next business student. But through a pilot program matching Temple faculty inventors with MBA students expressing interest in tech start-ups, Davidson was paired with Borguet, and the two worked off of complementing skill sets. The program was coordinated by Temple’s Office of Technology Transfer and the IEI.

“This partnership has been such a fruitful experience,” Davidson said. “It has been an amazing education in how to commercialize something, how to take it from the lab to the market.”

“This win was especially meaningful,” added Jaine Lucas, executive director of the IEI.” It’s a strong validation that our MBA student-faculty inventor partnerships are working.”

In addition to the grand prize, the IEI awarded first and second places in graduate and undergraduate tracks during the Oct. 20 ceremony. In the upper track, first place went to Plastisoil, a collaboration between Jabber Al-Bihani and Dr. Naji Khoury from the College of Engineering. Second place was awarded to Angulous Orthopaedics, another MBA-faculty inventor team composed of Mike Mittelman and Dr. Jason Piraino from the School of Podiatric Medicine.

In the undergraduate track, Fox students were awarded both first and second prizes – Mohamed Ali Niang for Malo Traders and Mike Cangi for Impact Racing.

This year, students and faculty from 11 Temple colleges took part in the Innovative Idea Competition. Many of the participants will next compete in the IEI’s annual Be Your Own Boss Bowl (BYOBB) business plan competition, which offers more than $65,000 in cash and prizes. The BYOBB emphasizes the quality of the business plan, rather than the idea, and participation in the Innovative Idea Competition beforehand is not required.

Lucas said the Innovative Idea Competition is ideal for students, faculty, alumni and staff with innovative new products and services that can become the basis for new businesses and technology start-ups. The student-faculty partnerships serve as a foundation for turning a complicated, technology-heavy idea into a working business plan.

“It’s exciting that we got the recognition we did, because it highlights the fact that there are so many amazing technologies coming out of Temple, and there are real meaningful commercial opportunities for them,” Davidson said. “Innovation is happening at Temple, and I think these kinds of partnerships will bring them to market.”

– Julie Achilles