BW’s engines of creativity were running in overdrive this spring during StartSomethingBW, the recently completed, second annual Blackstone LaunchPad (BLP) idea contest. This year’s competition attracted 163 entries, a fifty-plus percentage increase over last year. Nine teams received a total of $1,800 in prizes in three categories.
Notable winning ideas in this year’s contest included David and Raquel Milligan’s “Shower Helper” for recuperating patients, in the Business Idea category; Basem Magd’s “Summer Tote Storage,” in the Baldwin Wallace category; and Kimberly Smith-Gerace’s “RFID Officer Safety” system, in the Social Enterprise category. A full list of winners can be found on the Start Something BW webpage.
As conceived by BW’s Blackstone LaunchPad entrepreneurship program, the annual idea contest has three primary goals: increase campus awareness of BLP; spur ideation and creativity throughout the university; and jumpstart the formation of companies and jobs by inspiring students to identify problems -- and devise solutions.
For many BW students, the idea contest is just the first step in the entrepreneurial process, followed by regular meetings with BLP consultants who provide students with the tools and strategies they need to succeed.
“Blackstone LaunchPad is a tremendous resource for aspiring entrepreneurs,” according to Mike Nock, BLP Director at Baldwin Wallace. “As part of the region’s fertile entrepreneurial ecosystem, BLP consultants can advise students and connect them with a variety of services and mentors as they move along the path to business creation. There are few programs like Blackstone LaunchPad, and few regions for startup support like Northeast Ohio.”
In its third year at BW, Blackstone LaunchPad is co-funded by The Burton D. Morgan Foundation in Hudson, and by the Blackstone Charitable Foundation in New York. The 15-school Blackstone LaunchPad national network is modeled after The Launch Pad, which was created at the University of Miami in 2008.