Urban wind turbine project wins technology ventures class competition
Gary Minkoff, Rutgers Business School (RBS), instructor of professional practice in entrepreneurship, recently announced the winning team in the joint program/competition in his technology ventures class. The class is offered to undergraduates in partnership with the design and manufacturing class in the School of Engineering's Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering (MAE) program, which is led by Professor Mina Pilegri, and her graduate assistants, Brandon Ashworth and Merrill Edmonds.
The competition was based on a semester-long project in which 17 RBS/MAE teams (2 RBS students, plus MAE teams of approximately 5 students) worked collaboratively using the lean startup methodology to iterate and articulate successive versions of the value proposition and business viability of various technologies being researched and/or developed by the MAE Students.
Chelsea Olivares and Erin Pasko took Minkoff's class through Rutgers Business School. Olivares, a communications major with a concentration in public relations said: "When we started meeting with the engineering students, we spoke different languages. But we all brought different strengths to the problem and worked very well together."
The actual final entries in the competition consisted of a three-minute video presented by each team explaining key points about the big picture problem the technology is intended to address, the technology solution, the potential market(s) and market sizes, the business model, and an “ask” for specific resources - how much money would be needed for the project to move forward. The judges were Brandon Ashworth, Gary Minkoff, Reza Green, PhD, JD, chief intellectual property officer, Novo Nordisk, and Brittany Fedun, manager of the emerging entrepreneurs practice at Wilkin & Guttenplan P.C., CPAs and Consultants.
The feedback from the judges was moderated by Lori Dars, associate director of the Rutgers Office of Economic Development, Ed Guttenplan, managing shareholder and co-founder of Wilkin & Guttenplan P.C., and Margaret Brennan-Tonetta, associate vice president from the Office of Economic Development.
The judges chose the Urban Wind Turbine Project: a small electricity generating wind turbine to help address global warming by reducing reliance on greenhouse-producing power sources. The project included engineering, selling, and leasing small roof-top wind-powered turbines; selling rechargeable batteries; and producing the necessary software.
The prize provided by Wilkin & Guttenplan P.C. was $1,000 divided among the team members and an additional $1,500 worth of professional advising services from Wilkin & Guttenplan P.C. to assist the team in bringing this winning project to fruition.
Guttenplan's firm has a great respect for the potential of these student collaborations: "We are very pleased to be able to partner with two great programs in entrepreneurship at Rutgers Business School and the Design/Manufacture class In the Mechanical/Aerospace Engineering program in the School of Engineering" said Guttenplan. "We hope to be supportive as these students explore the intersection of technology and business, and where it adds value, be a resource to them, or anyone else exploring a venture at Rutgers. With our own experience as entrepreneurs, and the wisdom we've gained from advising countless entrepreneurial clients, we would be thrilled to do whatever we can to help these emerging entrepreneurs at Rutgers be successful."
The winning team clearly agrees: "We are very excited about the professional advising services from Wilkin & Guttenplan P.C.," said Pasko. "We definitely plan to keep the team together, and after graduation this spring, see how far we can take the urban wind turbine project."
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