BIG IDEAS FIND BIG SUCCESS AT THE 2013 IDEA COMPETITION
The Sports Zone was packed Thursday night, April 18th for the annual UMBC Idea Competition, won by Team Banana Bones. Ten ideas, narrowed from a pool of 47, were pitched to a standing room only crowd and a panel of three judges. Stakes were high— awards ranged from $250 to $750—and the ideas were wild, practical and very original.
This year’s big idea was an app which would provide a connection between UMBC and the local community. By providing turn-by-turn directions, the app gives students, staff, parents and visitors the ability to easily navigate around the UMBC campus and community. It also interacts with campus resources such as the myUMBC Events Calendar and takes into account handicap accessibility
routing for those who require it.
The winners, who called themselves Team Banana Bones, were Josh Massey, Andres Camacho, Ayushi
Aggarwal, and Hashem Kanfash. Aggarwal says the idea was born of the need for an integrated campus body and the need for local business involvement in on-campus affairs.
However, perhaps the most important part of the Idea Competition is that it brings together some of the most innovative and engaged minds on campus.
“The best part about participating in the Idea Competition is the exposure to the creative ideas from other individuals. We are all here to make a difference and improve the community,” said Aggarwal.
John Massey, also of Team Banana Bones, agreed that the spirit of the competition is what made the event so successful. “I really enjoyed the camaraderie of the entire event. Everyone showed their support for the other teams. That’s rare in a business pitch competition,” he said.
Winners were chosen by a combination of scores from the voting audience and the judging panel, consisting of three entrepreneurs: Kris Appel, President, Encore Path, Inc. (UMBC ACTiVATE graduate); Vlad Friedman, CEO, Edgewebhosting.net; and Andrew Pollack ’12, Former Founder and CEO, Antek Healthware,LLC. The first place team took home $750, the second place team took home $500 and both the third place team and Best Presentation winner earned $250.
The second place winners, R3K Team, consisted of members Cameron Stalder, Nicole Dawkins, Sabeeh Hameed and Bethany Cook. R3K Team developed a product to assist students in developing their first resume for the professional market. It allows students to focus on writing facts about themselves without worrying about format, layout or section order to present information. The third place went to Amrita Anand who created Aurora Kitchens, an idea for a non-profit teaching kitchen that offers free classes to teenagers with the goal of reversing the obesity epidemic in the United States. Anand’s goal is to start this business upon graduation from UMBC. Coursefly, a redesign of the way students register for courses created by Luis Queral, received the Best Presentation award.
Team Banana Bones is already planning to launch the campus app. The team is currently working with group of developers and designers, and anticipates having it ready by next semester.