April 2, 2013
Initial student entrepreneurship prototyping grants awarded to nine projects
A platform for building a worldwide online farmers market, a mobile app to book a taxi and estimate the fare, and a mini hydraulic power plant for charging electronic devices in the wilderness are among the projects funded by a new grant program for student entrepreneurs at Purdue.
The student mini grant program makes awards up to $3,600 to accelerate entrepreneurship at Purdue by helping students with entrepreneurial ideas construct a first prototype. A total of 24 proposals were submitted to this inaugural competition and 11 students on nine teams won grants. The awardees are expected to pursue additional opportunities to advance their projects, such as business plan competitions and other grants.
The mini grant program is sponsored by Purdue's College of Technology and Purdue Innovation and Commercialization Center-IT (ICC-IT) using funds from the endowed professorship held by Melissa Dark, W.C. Furnas Professor of Technology and the ICC-IT's faculty director.
There will be another round of student mini grants in fall 2013. For more information, contact Professor Dark, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dark says the prototypes funded by the grants are an important step in the innovation process
"It is really where students take ideas and start to create early versions of real things," Dark says. "You can't get better versions until you have early versions."
The grant winners include:
- Jessica David, a junior in industrial design, $3,600 for Golden Chef, a system that helps older people continue to use their ovens by eliminating issues with gripping, bending, the weight of an object, rack accessibility, and more.
- Suyash Dugar and Abilasha Nandakumar, seniors in mechanical engineering, $3,600 for Power Generation, a portable, compact system that uses energy from flowing water to charge electronic devices.
- Chase Hughes, a sophomore in management, $3,600 for Frumity, an online platform for working with small farmers and artists to sell high-quality food and art products from around the world to consumers interested in quality, while helping international communities and families develop economically.
- David Lomiashvili, a graduate student in astrophysics, and Felipe Ochoa, a graduate student in civil engineering, were awarded $3,600 for TaxiTapp, a mobile and Web-based taxi booking app and fare estimator.
- Nancy Rasche, a graduate student in fine arts, $3,600 for Labeling Home, an educational game for students with autism who are ready to begin reading and writing.
- Austin Saragih, a junior in industrial engineering, $3,600 for Electricity and Circuits Education, a user-friendly module allowing teachers, including those not well-versed in basic electricity and circuits, to educate students about the topic.
- Sudeep Gottipatti and Austin Loudin, a freshman and a sophomore in computer science, $3,038 for Basket, a mobile app and Web-based platform for same-day delivery of thousands of items, from groceries to laundry detergent.
- John Westbrook, a junior in organizational leadership and supervision, $3,000 for Fresh Ground Spices, fresh spices ground and immediately vacuum sealed in single-use packets.
- Andrew Linfoot, a junior in industrial engineering, $2,286 for Perspectives, a mobile app to promote understanding among people around the world by letting users post a short text statement, picture, or video — that is, a "perspective" — linked to the user’s location via a phone’s GPS.
About the ICC-IT
Formed in 2012, the ICC-IT assists faculty, staff and student information technology innovators in navigating the commercialization landscape by bringing would-be entrepreneurs together in a supportive community and connecting them to experienced mentors and funding. For more information about the ICC-IT, visit purdueicc.org or contact Diana Hancock, commercialization director, email@example.com.
About the W.C. Furnas Professorship of Technology
Richard Hansen established the Furnas professorship in honor of his grandfather, Carl Furnas. In 1931, Furnas left the Allis-Chalmers Co., at West Allis, Wisconsin, where he had worked 21 years and was assistant general plant manager. Working in his basement with his wife, their daughter and a few assistants, he started the Furnas Electric Co., which grew to be one of the nation's major producers of electric motor controls and eventually sold its products worldwide. In 1996, it merged with a German company and became known as the Siemens-Furnas Controls.