Plans to Improve Water Security, Diabetes Tracking Are among New Venture Competition Quarter Finalists

One hundred student groups advanced as quarter finalists in the annual innovation and entrepreneurship contest.

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February 08, 2017

By Kristen Mitchell

One hundred student groups have advanced to round two of George Washington University’s New Venture Competition, an annual Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship contest in which students pitch ideas for products or startup businesses and can receive funding to pursue their plans.

For the first round, 116 student groups submitted a short summary and video explaining their idea. Those who advanced to round two as quarter finalists were announced on Jan. 28.

The quarter finalists must complete a feasibility analysis this month to advance to round three. The semi-finalists will be announced by March 8 and must successfully make it through one more round before the final presentations on April 20. Finalists may be awarded more than $300,000 in cash and in-kind prizes this year.

“GW is committed to providing experiential learning for students in innovation and entrepreneurship, and the New Venture Competition is one of a number of ways GW helps students take their ideas and turn them into positive impact,” said Jim Chung, associate vice president of Innovation and Entrepreneurship, which falls under the Office of the Vice President for Research.

More than 20 GW student innovators recently met with George Washington President Steven Knapp to discuss their projects. They presented innovations that included an on-the-go makeup palette with all the essentials and apps to assist with mental health and diabetes care.

Fighting drought
In water-stressed regions like California and Texas, consumers are feeling the pain of rising water and utility costs. Prolonged drought is creating an unsustainable draw on aquifers that provide water to the regions. Three GW students believe a decentralized, natural process using condensation wells can supplement water sources.

David Meehan and Bayard Carlson, a senior and junior in the School of Business, and Spencer Legred, a Columbian College of Arts and Sciences senior, pitched their idea Clean Condense during the first round of competition.

Using a system of underground tubing, water can be produced from thin air. The system would use the naturally cooled earth 20 feet underground to create condensation. Clean Condense would save users an estimated $100 a year in water expenses and make water more accessible for thousands. The group believes the system eventually would pay for itself.

Tracking diabetes
Obichi Obiajunwa, a first-year School of Business graduate student, pitched an idea that would help people with diabetes manage their condition through a mobile app, Diabuddy. The app would enhance a health regimen put in place by a physician or self care.

The app would allow loved ones to connect with a patient and help monitor their care. The data would be shared with a patient’s healthcare provider when applicable. Mr. Obiajunwa said the app could be used in developing countries as a tool to monitor the distribution and demographic development of the non-communicable disease. The proposal named Nigeria as a target country.

Mr. Obiajunwa has a background in the medical field and public health.

Makeup on the go
Lynda Correa, a second-year School of Business graduate student, had the idea to develop a single-use, full-face makeup kit with mascara, foundation and lip color. The “Pocket Palette” would have enough of each product in the packet for a single use.

Market research shows that women value mascara, foundation and lip color as the three “must haves” in makeup. The Pocket Palette lip color also could be used on cheeks and as eye shadow. The kit could be kept in a purse or backpack for easy use and could be thrown out after one use. Ms. Correa says it’s a simple replacement for carrying around a large makeup bag.

Prioritizing mental health
Lauren Hoffman, a senior in the School of Business, pitched a smartphone app that would help people dealing with issues ranging from anxiety and stress to depression and bipolar disorder. The app, Mynd, would connect users to mental health professionals 24/7 via instant messaging.

The app is designed to be one part of mental health offerings an employer or university makes available for potential patients in their care. It ensures that a person would have easy access to immediate care.

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