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TOP DAWG New Venture Championship winners announced

A total of $14,500 in cash and prizes was awarded during last week’s TOP DAWG New Venture Championship held at Louisiana Tech University.

Teams of student entrepreneurs competed in the TOP DAWG’s Idea Pitch competition this past October with the top 12 teams earning an invitation to compete in the TOP DAWG New Venture Championship.  Awards were given to the top three overall finishers as well as for entrepreneurial spirit and best presentation.

Haptic Unlimited (Sean Griffin – marketing major and Jessica Wasserman – PhD, biomedical engineering) won first place and $3,000 with their “Firebrand” product – a handheld Bluetooth keyboard and mouse designed for “Thumb and Trigger” typing to allow texting with any computing device.  The team also won the Innovation Enterprise Fund awarded and an additional $1,000.

Blue Green Innovations (Mindy Brock – electrical engineering major, and Jake Scoggin and Jake Terracina, both nanosystems engineering majors) earned second place and $1,500 for their waveguide product that offers a more cost effective method to grow algae for biofuel, waste water treatment, and CO2 reduction.  The team also won the $2,000 Ruston-Lincoln Parish Business Awards Best Presentation Award.  Proceeds generated by the Ruston-Lincoln Parish Business Awards Breakfast, a collaborate event of the Ruston-Lincoln
Chamber of Commerce and the Louisiana Tech College of Business, fund this award.

I-Chair won third place and $500 for an EEG and EOG-based wheelchair, which integrates “mind and chair” (Titly Dhar, Chelsea Dressel, Ryan Romance, Osayd Sawalha, Jessie Theobalds, and Zakariae Yerrou – all biomedical engineering majors.)

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

Glo-Cam (Megan Carroll, Austin Hoggatt, Aaron Rogers, and Erik Woodard – all biomedical engineering majors) which offers a cost effective way to image cancerous tumors, earned the $2,000 Jones Walker Entrepreneurial Spirit Award.

Jones Walker has grown over the past several decades in size and scope to become one of the largest law firms in the Gulf South. With more than 375 attorneys, Jones Walker serves local, regional, national, and international business interests in a wide range of markets and industries through offices in Alabama, Arizona, the District of Columbia, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas. For more information, visit www.joneswalker.com.

Nine, multi-disciplinary teams progressed to the New Venture Championship final round.  The 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 DAWG was established in 2002 and was organized by Bulldog Entrepreneurs – a student organization which empowers entrepreneurs and promotes innovation on the Tech campus.

Sponsors for the TOP DAWG include the Louisiana Tech College of Business, Louisiana Tech College of Engineering, the Center for Entrepreneurship and Information Technology (CEnIT), the Louisiana Tech Enterprise Center, and the Technology Business Development Center (TBDC).

Written by Debbie Inman – debinman@latech.edu