Through the Lens of Innovation: Global Entrepreneurship Week
By Samuel Howard
According to the Global Entrepreneurship Network, Global Entrepreneurship Week is a week in November where thousands of entrepreneurship competitions happen in 170 countries. Luckily, I was able to reap the reward of the Ain Center’s newest competition: the Creative Collision Challenge.
Before I go into the details, I would like to talk about my experience with Doug Chambers (VP: Global Head of Client Solutions at WeWork, Founder & CEO of Fieldlens, which was bought by WeWork, and a ’98 alum of the University of Rochester). Doug came to give a lecture on his experience and wanted to meet with some students like me. That’s just what I did.
I had three things I wanted to talk about with Doug and he did not disappoint. My first objective was to talk about Flashi, a company I would like to start in outdoor advertising, focusing on using tourists as flash mobbers. He helped me realize that the technology to be able to accomplish this feat was already there and all I had to do was create intuitive processes for the customer. Still not easy, but easier (and cheaper) than finding developers to create and app and website.
My second objective was to chat about a disc golf cart idea I have. He gave me great advice to meet with a material sciences person to discover cheaper ways to produce the same item. Lastly, Doug and I talked about my goal of becoming a product manager. He gave me great advice for preparation and reached out to his product managers right then and there!
Doug was a great resource and for those that have not taken advantage of the Experts-in-Residence (EIR), you need to try it out. I was not sure of the help I would get at first, but it was so beneficial, I know I will be taking advantage more often! Thanks Doug!
Sam Howard and his teammates (listed below) conferring with mentors during the Creative Collision Challenge.
Now, onto the competition. The Creative Collision Challenge was fast-paced and focused on saving honey bees.
Bees are depleting and one-third of all of our food comes from bees, thus our survival largely depends on their survival. Many ideas were thrown around with regulations, government bodies, and consumer products, but the solution that won first place was a solar-powered bee hive. Unfortunately, I was in class when they presented, or I would tell you all about it, but here’s our idea…
Learning about hive setup and upkeep with mentors and beekeepers, Willa Powell (member of the RCSD Board) and Ward Graham (owner of Brighton Honey).
Our solution was three-tiered:
- Get rid of neonicitinoids. A systemic (means it won’t go away for the plant’s life) nicotine-like agent that kills and confuses bees and impairs them from returning to the hive.
- Federal stipends for those interested in urban bee-keeping. We felt this was viable due to the lack of insecticides and gives greater biodiversity for the honey bees (as opposed to just one plant), and gives heightened awareness of the docile nature of bees when not disturbed.
- Education programs on the nature of bees, their survival, and how to get involved.
Though we were told our presentation was very well presented, we made third place and were beat by two teams. Am I happy with third place? Well, yeah, but I’d be happier with first!
Did I mention I got to meet some great people? On my team was Aman Tugnawat (’18 MS TEAM), Lennard Emanuel (’19 MS TEAM), and Gregory Scott (’20 MBA).
Sam and his team, the third place winners, with the four judges. From left: Jarmila Haseler, Liz Simmons, Samuel Howard, Aman Tugnawat, Lennard Emanuel, Gregory Scott, Michael Daley, and Carmala Garzione.
As with Experts-in-Residence, if you haven’t participated in a competition, you should. The free Chipotle lunch makes if all worth it (that is, if you don’t win). Happy innovating!
Samuel Howard ’19S (MBA) is originally a Michigander, but recently turned New Yorker. He is a past Mathematics teacher, Carpenter for the MET, and recruiter for hospitality assignments. He is currently pursuing an MBA at the Simon School of Business and has a goal of being a serial entrepreneur, selling his company and buying and operating a large theater with his wife Emma.