University of Rochester

Rochester Student Winners Announced in Global Innovation Tournament

November 20, 2009

Stanford University's Competition Helps Students Find Inner Entrepreneur

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (November 20, 2009)—More than twenty students from the University of Rochester competed in a most unusual global contest: in just eight days, they had to create innovative solutions to a mystery challenge and convey their results in a short video posted to YouTube. Called the Global Innovation Tournament, the competition is organized by the Stanford Technology Ventures Program (STVP) at Stanford University.

This year's mystery challenge, unveiled on Nov. 4, was "Make Saving Money Fun." Competitors were free to interpret the challenge any way they wanted, with the goal of creating as much value and having as much impact as possible. The University of Rochester Center for Entrepreneurship (CFE) organized the local competition. Judges Kevin Burns, president of Grove Street Management; entrepreneur Ray Justice (; and Bob Tobin, associate director of the CFE, revealed the winners today.

Students Jennifer Burger '10, Justin Peczkowski '09, '10 (M.S.), Elaina Stover '10, Eric Wisch '10, and Eva Xie '10 took first place for their video "" View their winning production on YouTube at or visit their Web site The runner-up, a team of six students, created a video called "save the money," available to view at Both of these Rochester teams will go on to compete in the global round of judging at Stanford. Global winners will be announced online on Thursday, Dec. 3 at

"We often talk to students about innovation and entrepreneurship, but the Global Innovation Tournament is a way to take charge of their creativity," said Tobin. "This competition is a condensed, immersion experience. It's enormously empowering to realize you can create value from virtually nothing."

Nearly 700 videos from more than 30 countries were submitted to the tournament this year. An official activity of Global Entrepreneurship Week, the competition encourages students to work in teams, challenge assumptions, seize opportunities and be creative. Most of all, it gives them a taste of what it's like to be entrepreneurial: students must have an impact while working with tight constraints, such as limited time and resources. Great ideas are not enough—they actually need to implement their ideas and deliver results.

Past versions of this competition involved giving students a common object, such as Post-It Notes®, rubber bands, or water bottles, and challenging them to create as much value as possible from these objects in a few days. Teams invented products, raised and donated money, composed music, entertained, helped the disabled, made political statements, educated children, and much more.

"This is the fourth time we've run this competition, and the results are always astounding," said Tina Seelig '79, executive director of the Stanford Technology Ventures Program, creator of the competition, and a University of Rochester alumna. "An event like this demonstrates just how much entrepreneurial potential there is among our young people and how much they are capable of achieving when given permission to do so."

About Global Entrepreneurship Week
With the goal to inspire young people to embrace innovation, imagination and creativity, Global Entrepreneurship Week will encourage youth to think big, turn their ideas into reality, and make their mark. From Nov. 16 - 22, 2009, millions of young people around the world will join a growing movement to generate new ideas and seek better ways of doing things. Tens of thousands of activities are being planned in dozens of countries. Global Entrepreneurship Week was founded by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation and the Make Your Mark campaign. For more information, visit, and follow @unleashingideas on Twitter.

About the Stanford Technology Ventures Program
The Stanford Technology Ventures Program (STVP) is the entrepreneurship center at Stanford University's School of Engineering. Hosted by the Department of Management Science and Engineering, STVP is focused on advancing business skills and research insights that will help entrepreneurial leaders use innovations to solve major world problems, with an emphasis on the environment, human health, information technology, and other global issues. STVP creates scholarly research on technology-based firms and teaches entrepreneurship skills to graduate and undergraduate students across campus. STVP's outreach programs include a free podcast and video website featuring entrepreneurial thought leaders ( and conferences for entrepreneurship educators worldwide. Learn more at