Student eWeek 2k15 Competition Winners Gain Experience, Funding

By: Sasha Steinberg, MSU OPA

STARKVILLE, Miss. — Twenty-five Mississippi State students are winners of the university’s fourth annual “Investing in Innovation,” or I-3 Day.

Organized by the university’s Office of Technology Management and Entrepreneurship and Innovation Center, the annual conference that also is part of Entrepreneurship Week hosted student business plan competitions, with cash awards totaling more than $39,000. Judged by 30 industry-respected leaders from companies all across the region, business model pitches were evaluated on company technology, management, financials, and market.

“We have so much positive momentum because of a great team we have at so many different levels that is committed to strive for excellence and innovation,” said MSU Vice President for Research and Economic Development David R. Shaw. “I am certainly proud of the innovation atmosphere and spirit that we’re continuing to encourage and see thrive here at Mississippi State University.”

MSU Vice President for Agriculture, Forestry and Veterinary Medicine Gregory Bohach also congratulated the innovators being recognized and expressed appreciation for the administrative support of deans, directors and department heads, as well as the offices of Research and Economic Development and Technology Management.

“Today is the culmination of many years of research, scholarly activity, and hard work. At Mississippi State, we do a really good job of translating our research and scholarly activities to benefit the citizens of Mississippi and the world. I really appreciate all that you all do and thank you for the teamwork that you display,” he said.

Gary Butler, chairman and CEO of Camgian Microsystems, was the event’s keynote speaker. Recently ranked in the 50 Most Promising Internet of Things Companies, Butler’s company was founded in 2006 with the vision of becoming a leader in combining innovative technologies in the areas of low-power microelectronics, sensors, wireless communications and data analysis to provide valuable decision analytics for customers in the government and commercial markets.

“What is the secret sauce to building a great company?” Butler first asked the entrepreneurial students in the audience.

While he agreed that “people,” “hustle,” “fix a problem,” “satisfy customers,” “patience,” “passion,” and “cash flow” all are important, Butler told the students that the key component is culture, which is the by-product of core values.

“If you’re starting a company today, the most important thing is that you establish those core values because culture is the unique thing that will make you different in the market,” he said. “Your company ultimately will become the manifestation of your core values.”

Butler discussed the three core values and resulting culture that he and his Camgian team implement every day.

“Our core values are based around three concepts: team, no quit, and playing to win. When we talk about team, we talk about it in the context of three components–having clear roles and responsibilities, clear goals and metrics, and most importantly, accountability,” said the University of Cambridge engineering doctoral graduate.

Having team members ask themselves whether they are “playing to win” drives a new degree of urgency and ambition around the Camgian organization, Butler said.

Butler, who also holds a Tulane University bachelor’s and Vanderbilt University master’s degree in mechanical engineering, reminded audience members that “success is ultimately built on failure.”

“What’s important is not that you fail. It’s what you learn from failure that’s important,” he emphasized when explaining the importance of having a “no quit” mentality. “When I first started the company, my focus really was around strategy and execution. What I quickly learned was that culture is the engine that drives performance of the organization, and you’ve got to get that right from the very beginning.”

2015 Entrepreneurship Week student winners from the startup competitions include:

ALEXANDRIA, Virginia  — Kylie D. Hayes, a senior business administration major, first place, Conceptual (I) Startup Competition, as well as second place, Final Startup Competition, both for Kylight.

BLUE SPRINGS — Aleksander Sina, a junior chemical engineering/biomolecular engineering major, first place, Post-Revenue Startup competition, for Tortilleria San Felipe.

BRANDON — Jarred C. Creel, a junior architecture major, second place, Prototype (II) Startup Competition, for ArcFolio; and Taylor A. Lee, a senior business administration major, second place and People’s Choice Award, E-Commerce Competition, for StruggleBusBox.com.

BROOKHAVEN — John C. Mooney, a senior marketing major, first place, Student Elevator Pitch Competition, for Consumables.

COLLIERVILLE, Tennessee — Lisa N. Hankes, a senior communication/public relations major, Conceptual (I) Startup Competition People’s Choice Award, for Quill Club.

COLUMBUS — Thomas K. Fitzner, a senior marketing/international business and foreign language/French double-major, first place, E-Commerce Competition, for FestiFix.com; Andrew S. Smith, a sophomore business administration/international business and foreign language/Spanish double-major, People’s Choice Award, Prototype (II) Startup competition, for I Wish It Was Real; and Hagan D. Walker, a senior electrical engineering major, first place, Prototype (II) Startup Competition, as well as first place and People’s Choice Award, Final Startup Competition, all for Vibe.

CUMMING, Georgia — Emilee E. Arnold, a junior marketing major, second place and People’s Choice Award, E-Commerce Competition, for StruggleBusBox.com.

HATTIESBURG — Landon L. Dale, a junior business information systems major, Conceptual (I) Startup Competition People’s Choice Award, for Quill Club.

HOOVER, Alabama — Daniel S. Crist, a senior electrical engineering major, second place, Prototype (I) Startup Competition, for Akimbo Games.

JACKSON — Ankit S. “Keith” Kakadia, a senior marketing major, People’s Choice Award, Post-Revenue Startup Competition, for Advertees.

PASCAGOULA — Katherine L. “Kaylie” Mitchell, a fine arts/graphic design major, first place, Prototype (II) Startup Competition, first place and People’s Choice Award, Final Startup Competition, as well as People’s Choice Award, Student Elevator Pitch Competition, all for Vibe.

PETAL — Cody Smith, a senior electrical engineering major, second place, Prototype (I) Startup Competition, for Akimbo Games.

SAINT CHARLES, Missouri — Curtis M. Reed, a junior architecture major, second place, Prototype (II) Startup Competition, for ArcFolio.

SOUTHAVEN — Julie N. Burke, a junior business administration major, second place and People’s Choice Award, E-Commerce Competition, for StruggleBusBox.com.

STARKVILLE — Ben Bailey, a senior management/international business and foreign language/Spanish double-major, first place, Conceptual (II) Startup competition, for Shot Swap; William C. Sanders, a kinesiology/sports administration master’s student, first place and a People’s Choice Award, Prototype (I) Startup Competition, for Xchange Group of MS; Andrew S. Stamps, a computer science doctoral student, second-place, Conceptual (I) Startup Competition, for 2D Knights; and Trey P. Wallace, a freshman computer engineering major, first place, Conceptual (II) Startup competition, for Shot Swap.

TOWN CREEK, Alabama — Claire Wilson, a senior communication/public relations major, second place and People’s Choice Award, E-Commerce Competition, for StruggleBusBox.com.

VARDAMAN — Alejandro Gracia, a senior business administration/international business and foreign language/Spanish double-major, first place, Post-Revenue Startup competition, for Tortilleria San Felipe.

VICKSBURG — Matt Waddle, a junior mechanical engineering major, second place and a People’s Choice Award, Conceptual (II) Startup competition, for Glassio; second place, Student Elevator Pitch Competition, for Squares.

WOODSTOCK, Georgia — Justin J. Stanfill, a junior management major, second place, Post-Revenue Startup competition, for Stanny’s Tackle Co.

MSU Entrepreneurship Week 2015 and I-3 Day was made possible by Tellus Operating Group, LLC; Talos Energy, LLC; MSU alumnus Mark Dumas; Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell and Berkowitz, PC; and MSU’s Thad Cochran Endowment for Entrepreneurship, College of Business, and James Worth Bagley College of Engineering.

For more “Entrepreneurship Week” or “I-3 Day” information, visit the MSU eWeek 2k15 website at //ecenter.msstate.edu/eweek.

 

Original article online at http://www.msstate.edu/web/media/detail.php?id=7185

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