Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Top Dog New Venture Championship winners announced

by BIZ. Staff

Team Polar Case won first place and $3,000 in the 2019 Top Dog New Venture Championship for its all-in-one device that holds the most important diabetes supplies in a compact, temperature controlled, inconspicuous unit.

Management/Entrepreneurship major Brittney Walker and Mechanical Engineering majors Carli Whitfield, Ashley Boyd, Arman Hajiesmaeili, Joseph Brunet, and Samuel Haskins made up the first-place team in the recent on-campus competition.

The Innovation Enterprise Fund awarded another $1,000 to the team.

In all, a total of $19,000 in cash and prizes was awarded during the event, established in 2002. Awards were given to the top three finishers as well as for entrepreneurial spirit and in-kind services.

Second place and $1,500 was awarded to Team BEE 3D, made up ofMechanical Engineering majors Scott Roberts, Zack Harrington, Joey Higuera, and Justin Colley and Management/Entrepreneurship major Charlie Franck for their low-cost 3D printer kit and textbook for STEM education.

The Sea Skimmer team was awarded third place and $500. Mechanical Engineering majors Rebecca Doucet, Logan Caskey, Jacob Johns, Mason Mallard and management/entrepreneurship majors Nash Robbins and Ashley Bieller are developing a robot watercraft that cleans litter and debris from bodies of water.

Hero Aeronautics was awarded the $2,000 Jones Walker Entrepreneurial Spirit Award, which recognizes the team with the most entrepreneurial spirit. Hero Aeronautics is developing a satellite-type UAV for aerial crop surveillance that carries a payload and flies indefinitely. The sponsor of the award, Jones Walker LLP, serves local, regional, national, and international business interests in a wide range of markets and industries; today, the company has approximately 355 attorneys in 15 locations.

A new award was given by JUST BUSINESS, a giving circle comprised of Tech’s College of Business alumni and friends who pool financial resources and jointly decide how funds will be invested. This year the group awarded $8,000 of in-kind service funding to the Polar Case team as financial support for Polar Case to develop an intellectual property strategy and form a legal business entity.

The Louisiana Tech Robert H. Rawle Enterprise Center sponsors six months of incubator space, valued at $4,000, to the winning teams.

This year’s competition actually began in October, when 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.

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 Jamie Adams, CRO at Scorpion Internet Marketing; Lisa Johnson, President at Bossier Chamber of Commerce; Lance Foster, Partner/Jones Walker; and Dr. Dave N. Norris, former West Monroe mayor and economics professor.

Teams were scored on the quality of their new venture investment deck and the overall viability of their business concept.

The Top Dog competition is coordinated by Debbie Inman, Director of the CEnIT. Members of Bulldog Entrepreneurs, the student organization which empowers entrepreneurs and promotes innovation on the Tech campus, served as facilitators for the event.

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