July 03, 2012

Entrepreneurs Take Center Stage

Decked in suits and ties, fifteen student teams nervously awaited their turn to take the stage at Evans auditorium last Thursday and pitch a business startup idea to a four-judge panel.

Spearheaded by the College of Engineering and Technology and the Department of Learning and Development, the Accelerate program seeks to tap into the innovative spirit on campus and throughout Boston by positioning students to launch their own businesses.

“The idea is to get as much of the entrepreneurial spirit into the Wentworth community as possible,” said Monique Fuchs, associate vice president of the Department of Learning and Development.

After 50 students from various disciplines throughout Wentworth were selected to compete and teams were formed, students then attended a workshop series with guest speakers to help them refine ideas, develop business plans—all in order to eventually participate in Thursday’s “Pitchfest.”

“The students entered with an idea based on a project that they would do in a senior or junior-year design class, but then once they started to attend the workshops, you could see how their minds started to open … and the ideas became bigger,” Fuchs said.

By Friday, the results were in: five teams had been awarded a total of $29,000, with the biggest award of $10,000 going to Pelkey Design for the construction of an ergonomic pedicab prototype.

Winning teams also included: Doormen, a company developing a tool to validate identification at age-restricted venues ($7,500); Awesome Products, whose music-making app we featured ($7,500); Pneumatics Underground, a waste management solution ($2,000); and LL Enterprise, a robot to automate soil testing ($2,000). 

In the fall, the winning teams will give a presentation of the outcome of the funding and showcase prototypes of their products. For more information, visit the Accelerate homepage.  

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