U-Innovate! Entrepreneurs Could Discover the Next Big Idea

From innovative products, to software apps, to new concepts for the processing and delivery of scientific and medical information, the next big idea may come from Ursinus College. An upcoming competition will help make a new concept a reality.Over the past several months, Ursinus students developed ideas to enter into the entrepreneurial-minded U-Innovate! competition. The competition calls on students to develop “inspired, imaginative and innovative ideas for a product or service that fulfills a market need and/or solves a social problem.”

Which ideas will resonate? Students will present their ideas to judges April 6 at 3 p.m. in a public competition in the Kaleidoscope Performing Arts Center’s Lenfest Theater. Winners, who will be announced at the event, will receive cash awards and the opportunity to live on campus during the summer to start working on their projects with a faculty mentor.

Rob Gilfillan, founder and CEO of Cenero, will give a keynote talk, “Four Key Fundamentals I Wish I Understood Before Starting My Business.” A 1991 graduate of Ursinus, he was instrumental in building a technology-focused business before co-founding Cenero, an audio visual and conference solutions provider.

The competition is a program of U-Imagine! The Center for Integrative and Entrepreneurial Studies. Directed by an interdisciplinary faculty team of Carol Cirka from Business and Economics, Rebecca Jaroff from English, and April Kontostathis from Mathematics and Computer Science, the new center imbues an entrepreneurial spirit and fosters entrepreneurial competencies in students, regardless of major or post-graduate goals. Its mission is to give students the confidence and the ability to recognize and take full advantage of opportunities to apply their learning and become creative and compassionate leaders. Through the center, every student at Ursinus is encouraged to be an entrepreneurial thinker.

The competition was launched during the fall semester with a contest that called on students to design the competition’s logo and slogan. A U-Inspire! Speaker’s series, supported by Trustee Catherine Geczik, has brought to campus speakers and workshops, including Eduardo Ramos, Ursinus Class of 2006, an actor, model, and global marketing manager, and Anne Beiler, founder of Auntie Anne’s pretzel franchise.

The U-Innovate! winners will receive awards of $7,500 for first prize, $5,000 for second and $3,000 for third place, through a generous contribution from alumnus and Trustee Will Abele.