Ideas to Improve Student Life Win
Annual Business Competition
Winning ideas were all about making life easier for students at the sixth Annual UT Dallas Business Idea Competition. Top proposals included simplifying on-campus parking and facilitating “crowd scholarships.”
Team You-Park, winner of the Dallas Mavericks Entrepreneurship Award and first place in the undergraduate division, won with a model that helps students find the most convenient on-campus parking using a mobile app. Members appreciated how well the competition mimicked real-world business pitching.
“Our experience was very indicative of how our pitches will go,” Mindy Tiu, a junior in the Jindal School of Management, said.
Winners of the graduate division, Team BrainFund, run a patent-pending company that facilitates small donations from groups of people who give to students. Team members credited the Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship’s (IIE) academic director Dr. Joseph C. Picken with helping them prepare for the competition.
“He taught us what to learn before speaking to investors,” Matthew Hinson, a student in the Professional MBA program, said. “Through this competition, we learned so much about presenting and how to prepare for a pitch.”
The competition, hosted by the IIE, offered $20,000 in cash prizes. Sponsors Amy Cockerham, Mark Cuban, Hie Electronics, Mr. and Mrs. Dan Owen, SPlus Technologies, Trailblazer Capital, Trans Global Technologies, Inc. and supporters of the institute’s Innovation Alliance contributed the prize money. The first-place teams also received incubator space in the UT Dallas Venture Development Center and office space from the Common Desk in Deep Ellum.
“I saw so many great projects this year,” Jackie Kimzey, IIE executive director, said. “Many of them have the potential to go further.”
Open to all UT Dallas students, the competition attracted 121 entrants organized into 48 teams. Twenty-four teams advanced to the final day of competition, where industry professionals evaluated teams’ business ideas as well as their presentation quality.
Sixth Annual UT Dallas Business Idea Competition Results:
Winning Teams –
Team You-Park: Venter, Tan and Tiu
Dallas Mavericks Entrepreneurship Award (First Place, $5,000 prize): Team You-Park. Megan Tan, senior, arts and technology; Mindy Tiu, junior, management information systems; Janus (Petrus) Venter, senior, business administration. Business idea: automated parking management and reservation software.
Trans Global Technologies Entrepreneurship Award (Second Place, $2,500 prize): Team Personal Shopper. Justen Burrhus, senior, marketing; Shannon Hapeman, senior, mathematical sciences – statistics. Business idea: platform to provide product information and location for shoppers in-store.
Third Place ($1,500 prize): Team Remora. Puja Panwar, junior, neuroscience; Zoe Wilson, sophomore, undecided. Business idea: ride-sharing website with increased safety features and convenient access to global hostels and hotels.
Fourth Place ($1,000 prize): Team Simple Sign In. Aliya Anis, BSEE 2012; Nate Bleker, senior, computer science; Saamer Mansoor, junior, mechanical engineering. Business idea: electronic registration system to improve efficiency of signing in or voting at meetings.
Team BrainFund: Hinson and Jacobo
Dallas Mavericks Entrepreneurship Award (First Place, $5,000 prize): Team BrainFund. Alejandro Jacobo, MS in innovation and entrepreneurship; Matthew Hinson, Professional MBA. Business idea: online social platform to give college students the ability to raise money for their education by tapping into their existing social networks.
Trans Global Technologies Entrepreneurship Award (Second Place, $2,500 prize): Global Print Solution. Leran Liu, MBA 2011; Wenjing Qiang, MS in supply chain management. Business idea: output data management software that performs automated formatting of an existing print file.
Third Place ($1,500 prize): Team FitBuddy. Nikunj Nirmal, Full-Time MBA; Scott Wade, MS in finance; Vance Weintraub, Full-Time MBA. Business idea: software application for measuring workout statistics for weight-training exercises.
Fourth Place ($1,000 prize): Team Memor. Sruti Jilla, Full-Time MBA; Amir Najian, doctoral student in geospatial information sciences. Business idea: interactive device to help early stage dementia or Alzheimer’s patients remember where they are if and when they are lost.
Is New IIE
Jackie Kimzey, an industry veteran with more than 30 years’ experience in the technology sector, is the new executive director for the Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at UT Dallas (IIE).
Kimzey succeeds Dr. Joseph C. Picken, the institute’s founder and academic director.
“I’m pleased to pass the IIE leadership torch to Jackie Kimzey, with whom I’ve worked closely for several years,” Dr. Picken said. “I know that he’ll do an outstanding job. I’ll continue to be involved as the institute’s academic director and as an active member of Jackie’s team.”
Kimzey has held management positions at the semiconductor manufacturer Mostek. He was also co-founder and CEO of wireless provider ProNet. Kimzey remains a general partner at Sevin Rosen Funds, where he applies his experience and entrepreneurial perspective to companies in the wireless and software arena, including Invodo, Verified Person and others.
Now in his fourth year at the Jindal School, Kimzey is putting his business skills into practice with the IIE. His annual plan for the IIE prioritizes preparing students for careers in innovation.
“I’m an industry guy,” Kimzey said. “I plan to use my background to serve as a bridge between our students and industry.”