The Start-Up Challenge, sponsored by Kummer student programs and career opportunites and employer relations, was held Monday, Nov. 14. During the competition, 10 student teams pitched their ideas for start-up companies to a panel of three judges. The idea was to give students an opportunity to apply a real-world business model to their own entrepreneurial ideas, get feedback from mentors throughout the process, and then get feedback from the judges.
To compete, students had to complete a 10-module curriculum developed by Dr. Hanquing Fang, associate professor of business and information technology.
The winners of the first S&T Start-Up Challenge were:
- In first place, JP Baldwin, a sophomore in mechanical engineering from Holden, Missouri, and Emily Pesselato, a senior in chemical engineering from St. Louis, won $5,000 for their startup, Pnumo-Sense. The idea plans to use a urine sample to test for the presence of the bacteria that causes pneumonia, often deadly for elderly people.
- In second place, Aiden Armstrong, a junior in biological sciences from Maplewood, Missouri, Madison Husereau, a senior in biological sciences from Robertsville, Missouri, and Abigail Knoesel, a junior in chemical engineering from Wildwood, Missouri, won $3,000 for their startup, Foliagraft. Foliagraft proposes the use of spinach leaves and stem cells to help burn victims and others with wounds and conditions that require a skin graft.
- In third place, Kayla Cashion, a senior in biological sciences from Ballwin, Missouri, and Sophia Straatmann, a senior in biology from Washington, Missouri, won $1,000 for their startup, Stroller Puller. The puller will attach to strollers so they can be more easily pulled over sand, gravel, grass, hills and other surfaces difficult for people taking care of kids with disabilities.