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Top Dog champion announced

May 3, 2018

 

BRYN YOUNG

News Editor | bjy001@latech.edu

 

The competition’s first place winner, Hemocycle, pitched a plan to mass produce a product that recycles blood during surgeries. – Photo by Bryn Young

 

Business and engineering students got their moment in the shark tank April 27 at the annual Top Dog New Venture Championship as they pitched business ideas to a panel of judges.

 

The groups of Louisiana Tech students competed to earn up to $8,000 in prize money and a six-month stint in Tech’s incubation space. The four-judge panel was made of business professionals with experience in entrepreneurship who listened to entrepreneurs pitch businesses from ride-sharing to medical technology.

 

Debbie Inman, director of the Center for Entrepreneurship and Information Technology, planned the event. She said it is not only a great educational opportunity to build student business skills, but also chance for students to start their own business.

 

“It is an educational tool first,” Inman said. “We do have some teams that start up as a result of going through this process. They take their project and start a business. Our last year winners are now a start up. They are in our student incubator here on campus.”

 

Inman said this event important because it gives students a chance to gain valuable skills to make them more marketable to businesses looking to hire in the I-20 area.

 

“Potential employers are very interested in them because it trains students to analytically think,” she said. “It trains them to support their findings in a public presentation. It forces them to think about market opportunities with different projects. Those are all things employers want their employees to have, so we are also a job prep tool.”

 

Five checks were given out at the end of the competition to the groups with the best ideas ranging from $100 to $3,000. This year’s first place winner was the group Hemocycle, who pitched a plan to mass produce a product that can recycle blood during surgery. The group was comprised of Ryan Botts, Joshua Jacobs, Colton Patterson, Steven Pirvu and Caitlin Snell.

 

Botts, an industrial engineering major, said the win was a great prize for the work the group put into the project.

 

“It feels really good,” Botts said. “We were very surprised, but pleasantly surprised. We’re glad our hard work paid off.”

 

Pirvu, a biomedical engineering major, said they wanted to do something helpful that they could accomplish quickly and easily with their skills.

 

“We made phone calls to different hospitals and different people across the globe to find unmet needs in the medical industry,” Pirvu said. “After putting them on the whiteboard, we narrowed them down by what would have the largest impact and help the most people and was also feasible for a one year project. We wanted something we could accomplish using our skill sets as engineers and business students.”

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