Innovation Awards seeks nominations

CampuswideKnow an outstanding faculty, student or regional innovator or entrepreneur? TechGROWTH Ohio and Ohio University’s Vice President for Research and Creative Activity are seeking nominations for several awards that recognize outstanding technology innovation and business development.

The winners of the competition will be recognized at the first annual Innovation Awards, to be held from 6 to 9 p.m. on Tuesday, March 12 at Ohio University’s Baker University Center Ballroom. The event will celebrate the fifth anniversary of TechGROWTH Ohio, a program funded by the state Third Frontier program, Ohio University and industry sponsors to provide investments and business expertise to startup companies in southeastern Ohio.  TechGROWTH Ohio is part of an entrepreneurial ecosystem that includes programs that support university and regional technology commercialization and small business incubation.

The Innovation Awards seeks nominations in the following categories:

•    Outstanding Faculty Innovation
•    Outstanding Student Innovation
•    Social Innovation
•    Green Innovation
•    Outstanding Woman in Innovation
•    Entrepreneur of the Year

Rules and eligibility details are available at the Innovation Awards website, www.gala.ohio.edu.  Finalists will be notified and invited to the event, where winners in each category will be announced.  The gala also will feature the university’ first Konneker Medal for Commercialization and Entrepreneurship, which will be awarded annually to up to three faculty, student or alumni inventors and entrepreneurs.  Registration to attend the Innovation Awards is now open. Tickets are $30. The evening will begin with a networking reception followed by a formal dinner and program. To register or read additional details about the event, visit www.gala.ohio.edu.

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Scripps College Launches New Contest

ScrippsContest to award $20,000 in prizes

By Erin Roberts

The Scripps College of Communication is launching a major student competition offering substantial cash prizes for solutions to innovation “challenges” posed by the media industry.  The Scripps Innovation Challenge will be open to all students on campus, regardless of their major, and is designed to help solve specific innovation needs submitted by media professionals and companies.  It was announced by Andy Alexander, a visiting professional in the College, during its annual Scripps Day activities on Tuesday.

The contest is funded in part by money earmarked for innovation within a $15 million gift from the Scripps Howard Foundation to the College in 2006. The Grand Prize will be $10,000. Additional prizes will be $5,000 for Second Place and $1,000 for each of five Honorable Mention entries.

“The Scripps Innovation Challenge is a signature initiative that underscores the College’s commitment to fostering media innovation,” said Alexander, former ombudsman for The Washington Post. “While some bemoan the struggles of legacy media, students correctly see this as a time when they can play a critical role in determining how media will be consumed in the future.”

The contest will launch January 17 when a website featuring the innovation challenge options will go live. Students may compete either as individuals or as teams to submit entries by March 13. The winners will be chosen by industry judges during Communication Week, March 18 – 22.

“I am very excited to support the Scripps Innovation Challenge as a tool and a resource in helping students to learn how to innovate to solve the needs of the media industry,” said Scripps College of Communication Interim Dean Scott Titsworth. “Because the media landscape is so rapidly changing, innovation is key to the future of the industry.”

Students will be instructed on what entries must contain and will be encouraged to research their ideas and to seek feedback and guidance from experts in the industry. Some experts will be brought to campus by the Scripps College. The website will also feature a “matchmaker” function that will help students of different disciplines to find each other to form well-balanced and interdisciplinary teams. The website will also provide contact information for students in the event that they have questions about specific industry challenges. In addition, students may submit more than one entry.

The theme of this year’s Scripps Day was “Challenges and Innovation: The Future of Scripps.” Additional programming included a focus on international initiatives; a preview of the Schoonover Center for Communication, the College’s new building slated for completion in 2014; and the launch of a new website for the College. Professionals from the Scripps Howard Foundation and the E.W. Scripps Company visited classes, conducted résumé reviews for students in the College and participated in an innovation panel moderated by Alexander. Scripps Day celebrates the partnership between the College and the Scripps Howard Foundation, a longtime supporter of the college.

“The knowledge the panel imparted on the young people today was not only highly informative, but vital to our careers,” said Kaitor Kposowa, a Master’s student in journalism. “The landscape of news and media is becoming ever more social and digital and we have to keep up.”

Start-up Weekend (Athens)

Startup WeekendATHENS, Ohio (Jan. 28, 2013)—Three teams of aspiring entrepreneurs who created mobile apps and software for education, entertainment and marketing purposes took the top prizes at the second annual Startup Weekend Athens competition Sunday.

Two dozen participants, including current and former students of Ohio University and other regional educational institutions, organized into six teams over the weekend to develop new business products and companies. Startup Weekend is a 54-hour event that offers entrepreneurs a chance to pitch an idea, develop partnerships and gain expert coaching and advice from seasoned professionals. Hundreds of Startup Weekend events are held around the globe each year.

The weekend’s top prize went to RapChat, a new mobile app that allows users to record and exchange musical raps with friends. Developers Seth Miller and Brandon Logan told judges that learning to rap is one of the top “how to” Google searches. College student focus groups expressed high interest in the proposed product. The team took home $1,000 in prizes.

Startup Weekend Athens participants get creative with an icebreaker that challenged them to come up with a product idea inspired by two random words. (Photo credit: Jenna Smith, Ohio University Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs)

Second place went to LiveIn, a mobile app that allows users to find and share local events, as well as create virtual and hard copy posters to further promote such events on social media and in the community. The team of Sicong Li, Erica Staeuble and Ben Weibel pitched the product as “Instagram for Events” and took home $750 in prizes.

A new educational software system called Lydria took third place honors. The team led by Matt Spolar pitched the product as an alternative to software such as Blackboard and Moodle that allows university professors and students to virtually interface. Lydria intends to overcome the limitations of those programs to create a more effective educational communication tool, Spolar said. The team took home $500 in prizes. Members of the team included Daniel Williams, Sam Pattantyus, Jenny Wu, John Herbert, Annie Gullo and Jimmy Clark.

The winning teams will receive gift cards to purchase additional products and services that can help advance their business concepts.

The sponsors of Startup Weekend Athens, Ohio are Athens County Business Remixed, TechGROWTH Ohio, Athens Chamber of Commerce and the Ohio University Innovation Center, Vice President for Research and Creative Activity and Center for Entrepreneurship.

Contact: Jennifer Simon, (740) 593-1803