March/April, 2014: Ursinus College U-Innovate Competition

The U-Innovate competition at Ursinus College is a competition that “encourages independent and creative thinkers to develop an entrepreneurial idea that satisfies a particular social, environmental, artistic, and/or market need” (from their website). The competition includes the writing of a business plan to support the idea, and making a pitch of the idea to a group of judges. Twenty-one teams participated, and fifteen made the final pitches. First prize is $7,500, second is $5,000, and third is $3,500, all through the generasity of Ursinus Board Member Will Abele.

I have had the honor and the pleasure recently to act as a mentor to a team of students competing in the Ursinus College U-Innovate! Competition. Our team had a great idea of helping to solve childhood obesity by the creation of a facility and faculty to teach children the benefits of good nutrition, active play and exercise, and living right. The group called its non-profit “NuFITion”, and used the tag line “Eat Right, Play Right, Live Right”. After doing all the basic research required to produce a viable business plan, they did additional research and pursuit of resources to accomplish their mission. The talked with a commercial property developer, who committed to a 5-year rent-free usage of a 10,000 sq. ft. building, comlete with an outdoor area suitable as a play area. They also are in the process of submitting a grant application for a $300,000 grant, and are pursuing other resources. This group is dedicated to their mission and produced a very good business plan and an excellent pitch.

This is a great way for students to think about thier future endeavors and to prepare to pursue them. I enjoyed every minute of my work the the team, and of listening to the ideas of the other teams.


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