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Gigot hosts ‘Idea Challenge’ at ND

Patrick Cruitty | Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Ideas ranged from the high tech to the socially and environmentally conscious to the bizarre at the third annual Gigot Center for Entrepreneurial Studies’ Idea Challenge, held yesterday in the Mendoza College of Business.

Ideas included everything from laser pointers to automated urinal carnival games.

Each student is given one minute to present their idea in front of an audience, which then votes on the best.

The objective is to simulate an “elevator pitch” — the opportunity to present potential investors or partners with an original idea.

“The goal of the Gigot Center is to really look at the idea of venture development as a spectrum from idea to enterprise,” Laura Hollis, director of the Gigot Center, said.

The event is meant to kick off the rounds of competitions that come later, such as the main McClosky Competition, which gives students the opportunity to present their business plans in the hopes of the $15,000 grand prize, according to Gigot’s website.

Students can be intimidated by the prospect of presenting their ideas, so this event is supposed to help ease that anxiety, Hollis said.

Both the Idea Challenge and McClosky Competition are open to all Notre Dame students, no matter the major.

“The best projects are usually interdisciplinary,” Hollis said.

After all of the students have presented, the audience votes. There are two overall winners in two categories, Best Social Venture and Best Health care Venture.

The Best Social Venture award went to a plan to set up medical kiosks around the world so that doctors in developing nations could learn about medical procedures while providing data for the study of disease, Hollis said.

A plan to apply mobile technology to fighting diabetes in developing nations won the Best Health care Venture category.

Casey Cockerham and Joe Miller won the general competition, both garnering new iPads for their ideas. Cockerham’s idea was to put bar codes on posters in order to instantly obtain digital information about the event in question.

“It was one of those back of the envelope sketches,” he said.

Now that it appears to have earned a certain amount of attention, he plans on developing it further, Cockerham said.

Miller’s idea consisted of putting a Bluetooth connection in digital cameras, to allow for instant sharing of pictures.