The Egg at Alter Hall was standing-room only last night as IEI Executive Director Ellen Weber took the podium to open the 20th Annual Innovative Idea Competition Live Pitch Event. “Sometimes what makes an idea strong is that it’s elegantly simple,” she told the audience in her opening remarks. “The kind of idea that makes you think ‘why didn’t I think of that?'”
That rung true when Emily Kight (College of Engineering ’18), an Idea Competition veteran who landed in second place in the Undergraduate Track at last year’s competition, took home the $2500 Grand Prize for her idea: an affordable, accessible, at-home ovarian cancer menstrual blood test. The test, if it makes it to the market, will allow all women, especially those with a higher risk due to family history, to test for ovarian cancer more often, more privately, and more conveniently. This could drastically reduce late detection, a common risk with ovarian cancer because of how difficult its symptoms are to detect.
Kight was also awarded the $500 Global Innovation Prize funded by CIBER for her idea’s potential to have an impact on a global scale.
Twelve finalists total pitched to the competition’s expert judging panel: Glen Gaddy, Chair of Mid-Atlantic Diamond Ventures, Yuval Yarden, Director of Ecosystems Engagement at the Global Entrepreneurship Network, and Shelton Mercer, Principal and Chief Innovation Officer at Benjamin’s Desk. Other top ideas from the night included C.A.L.M (Daniel Couser, FSB ’18) and Vibrasoft (Kyle Jezler, College of Engineering ’18), two healthcare-focused ideas that received first and second place in their track, respectively. In the Upper Track, comprised of graduate students, alumni, faculty, and staff, Immersive Therapy (Keith Regan, FSB Alumni) came out on top and Quick ReCon (Alex Garaschenko, FSB Alumni) was awarded second place.
The audience had a say, too! Two People’s Choice Awards were given to the ideas with the most votes from the audience. New and exciting this year was the Facebook Live stream happening throughout the entire competition via the Fox School of Business Facebook Page, where more than 1000 viewers tuned in and were able to cast their votes along with the live audience. When voting closed, My Student Quarters (Jessica Rehrig, CLA Alumni) came out on top to receive the $1000 first place People’s Choice Award, with Atheroprobe (Laura Navarro, College of Science and Technology ’21) in a close second taking home $500.
Click here for a full list of last night’s finalists and idea descriptions.
Up next? The Be Your Own Boss Bowl. 2018 Rules and Guidelines coming soon!