This last month CleanStart partnered with the College of Engineering and Computer Science (ECS) and the Carlsen Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship to put on a series of events around 2020 Global Entrepreneurship Week held around the world from November 16th to 20th. The primary event was the 2nd Annual Engineering and Computer Science Pitch Competition with $750 in prize money.
Running up to the GEW 2020, we reached out to ECS students who had an idea for a start-up through two sessions of a presentation on the competition and how to apply. We also made time available for coaching through office hours. Eight of the startups took advantage of office hours. Additionally, CleanStart founder Gary Simon put on a class to share with students how they can use resources to build a company—discussing the StartUp Canvas, Value Proposition, and more.
During the GEW, CleanStart started with an event with ECS around Engineers who built companies. It started off with a “solar” side chat between Associate Dean Dr. Mariappan “Jawa” Jawaharlal and CleanStart Chair Gary Simon sharing experiences in how engineers could become entrepreneurs. Following them, Simon led an experienced Entrepreneur panel with an engineering background. Students got to hear from Melanie Okoro, PhD, Founder and CEO of Eco-Alpha, Isabel Gutierrez, CEO and Founder of Vistendo Inc, and Mark Henwood, Manager at Powersoft LLC and Co-Founder of CleanStart.
The panelists shared advice with students on building their careers. Gutierrez encouraged students to connect with faculty to help develop their teams. Dr. Okoro highlighted how she leveraged partnerships, professional and community, to build a successful company she is proud of. They all talked about how students should approach a career in Entrepreneurship and apply their engineering knowledge.
The following day was the 2nd annual ECS Student Pitch Competition. Ten startup ideas were selected from a pool of applicants and invited to pitch at the event. Teams pitching had 10 minutes to convince a panel of judges of the worthiness of their startup.
The teams were evaluated on seven criteria, Problem/ Opportunity. Product/Sevice Detail, Customer and Market Knowledge, Team, Price and Cost, Competition and Advantages, and their Presentation Ability.
The 10 Startups were:
- Nexus– Storage Security using NFC data Transfer
- Medical ML – Medical Diagnosis AI
- Project Athena – Using Robots to fight fires
- ReMart – Student Marketplace
- LDAM (Kite Vision) – Combining Drone Technology with Kites
- Triton Energy Solutions – Harvesting Wave Power
- Build the Lanes – Using students to accelerate the Building of Bike Lanes
- Submersible Microplastic Filter/collector – Filtering microplastics below the surface
- Ethicli – Encouraging consumers to shop ethically
- Compostador – In-home composting.
The pitches were excellent, and we are disappointed we could only award two prizes. The top prize of $500 went to Triton Energy Solutions. The Clean Tech Prize of $250 Sponsored by CleanStart went to Ethicli. We also offered to each of the companies to be available for additional coaching if they wanted to continue to pursue their ideas. Stay tuned to see videos of the pitches later and blogs on the winners.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Thomas is the Executive Director of CleanStart. Thomas has a strong background in supporting small businesses, leadership, financial management and is proficient in working with nonprofits. He has a BS in Finance and a BA in Economics from California State University, Chico. Thomas has a passion for sustainability and a commitment to supporting non-profits in the region.