IdeaLabs 2023—a night of intriguing ventures, great pitches, fun networking, grandparents in the audience, and plenty of applause! ideaLabs, a flagship undergraduate program of Entrepreneurship Education Consortium Ohio, brings together student entrepreneurs from its thirteen member campuses to pitch new venture ideas before a panel of independent judges.
Entrepreneurship Education Consortium Ohio hosted ideaLabs 2023 at Bounce Innovation Hub in Akron on April 13th. EEC member campus Hiram College served as the presenting school for this annual event, and leading the way as organizer was Dave Strukel, Director of Hiram’s Burton D. Morgan Center for Integrated Entrepreneurship. Each member institution held its own competition, with the winners of those events progressing to the regional idea pitch. Sixteen semi-finalist teams delivered table pitches, allowing the judges to select five finalist teams to pitch on stage.
The winning teams included:
First: Digital Rhythmic Utility Modules (D.R.U.M.)
Case Western Reserve University
Kent State University
Third: Mavics Mobile Auto Detailing
John Carroll University
Fourth: Work Me
Cleveland State University
Lake Erie College
Five People’s Choice Awards were also announced at the end of the evening. Congratulations to the winning teams!
Cash prizes of more than $8000 were awarded, generously supported by the Fred A. Lennon Charitable Trust. Burton D. Morgan Foundation, GAR Foundation, Weathertop Foundation, SmartShape Design, and Deshpande Foundation also serve as generous donors supporting EEC’s operations and programs, along with many other individuals and organizations. ideaLabs sponsors for the event included: Bounce Innovation Hub, EDGE, Entrepreneurs’ Organization, MAGNET, and Triad Communications. Thanks to all of our valued supporters for your contributions!
EEC also expresses appreciation to our team of expert judges: Parth Agrawal, Venture for America Fellow and Founding Product Manager, FindOurView; Liz DeCarlo, New Ventures Consultant, MAGNET; Gene Groys, CSO MedaSync and EIR, Bounce Innovation Hub; and Martin Tarr, EO member and CEO, 360 Alley.
Students were judged on their ability to answer a series of questions critical to the startup process including the problem they are solving, the value proposition, the nature of customers and competitors, size of market, distribution channels, projected costs, and what else they need to move forward.
Faculty advisors to the students play an important role in preparing students to define and deliver their pitches. EEC believes in the power of the idea competition to support undergraduate students in the development and articulation of innovative ideas. We structure the opportunity as an immersive learning experience that will deliver benefits far beyond the competition itself.
The 2023 event featured an uplifting message on the value of entrepreneurship programming from Hirams’s President David Haney, and a panel of EEC alumni businesses sharing their startup experiences and challenges. Panelists included Ashley Rutkowski, Host, Hiram College Entrepreneurship Honors student; Ethan Holmes, Hiram College, CEO and Founder of Holmes Mouthwatering Applesauce; and Angelique Wong, Kent State University, Founder of Artuza and Societal Heights Marketing Agency.
EEC is already beginning its planning for ideaLabs 2024, and we hope to see you there!
About the EEC