TOP DOG New Venture Championship winners announced at LA Tech

A total of $12,500 in cash and prizes was awarded during the TOP DOG New Venture Championship at Louisiana Tech University. Awards were given to the top three finishers as well as for entrepreneurial spirit.

This past October, teams developed ideas and competed in the TOP DOG Idea pitch. After the pitch, student teams had the option to continue with their ideas and build an investor deck to enter the preliminary round of the New Venture Championship. After the preliminary round, seven multi-disciplinary teams advanced to compete in the TOP DOG New Venture Championship.

Team HemoCycle (Industrial Engineering major: Ryan Botts, Mechanical Engineering major: Joshua Jacobs, Entrepreneurship major: Colton Patterson, Biomedical Engineering majors: Steven Pirvu and Caitlin Snell) won first place and $3,000 with a lower cost medical device that will bring blood recycling to hospitals in developing nations. The Innovation Enterprise Fund awarded $1,000 to be added to the $3,000 first place award.

Second place ($1,500) was awarded to Team Kool Kids Stroller Pad (Entrepreneurship majors Michael Foster and MaCara Herbert, Mechanical Engineering majors: Logan Bazo, Denver Houghton, Jared Keating and Kristen Shaffer). Kool Kids Stroller Pad is a cooling pad designed to make any stroller safe and comfortable while keeping kids cool and parents sane.

Kool Kids was also awarded the $2,000 Jones Walker Entrepreneurial Spirit Award which recognizes the team with the most entrepreneurial spirit.

Jones Walker LLP has grown over the past several decades in size and scope to become one of the largest law firms in the United States. Jones Walker serves local, regional, national, and international business interests in a wide range of markets and industries. Today, they have approximately 355 attorneys in Alabama, Arizona, the District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, New York, and Texas.

The CheckPlate team was awarded third place ($500). Entrepreneurship major: Kraemer Jackson and Mechanical Engineering majors: Garrett Allen, Tate Leitz, Alex Pledger, and Michael Tolar are developing a product that makes manufacturing firms using CNC milling machinesmore efficient and profitable by decreasing setup time.

In addition to the cash awards, the Louisiana Tech Robert H. Rawle Enterprise Center sponsors six months of incubator space to the winning teams valued at $4,500.

Supporting sponsors for the TOP DOG include the Louisiana Tech College of Business, Louisiana Tech College of Engineering and Science, the Center for Entrepreneurship and Information Technology (CEnIT), the Louisiana Tech Enterprise Center, the Innovation Enterprise Fund and the Technology Business Development Center (TBDC).

Judges for the TOP DOG included: Nancy Knighten, Assistant Vice President and SBA Product Specialist for Regions Bank, Michael Leachman, Partner and Patent Attorney with JonesWalker, David R. Smith, Executive Director of the Entrepreneurial Accelerator Program, and Robert Sweitzer, Ph.D., developer of strategy, B2B marketing programs and business development programs for high growth companies.

Teams are scored on the quality of their new venture investment deck and presentation as well as the overall viability of their business concept. The TOP DOG was established in 2002 and is coordinated by Debbie Inman, Director of the Center for Entrepreneurship and Information Technology. Members of Bulldog Entrepreneurs, the student organization which empowers entrepreneurs and promotes innovation on the Tech campus, serve as facilitators for the event.