Big prizes were dispensed for the best business ideas at the conclusion of the 2018 Virginia Tech Global Entrepreneur Challenge recently.
A student team from Chile won the $30,000 grand prize for its concept of a biomedical device for people with essential tremor and Parkinson’s disease, while other teams from Germany and Chile won the $10,000 Information Technology Award and the $5,000 People’s Choice Award.
Grand prize winner Team GRACE, from Universidad Adolfo Ibañez, comprised Felipe Nagel, Federico Jensen, and Alex Carimán. Their concept is aimed at easing tremor and helping people improve their quality of life without surgeries or drugs.
Their prize package consisted of the $10,000 Advanced Manufacturing Award, for the most outstanding tangible product, and $20,000, as the overall grand prize winner.
Team FeetBack, from the Technical University of Darmstadt, won the Information Technology Award. The team, represented by Lukas Braisz, Patrick Scholl, and Simon Staffa, won the Virginia Tech Global Challenge Virtual Preliminary for its concept of a training device for Parkinson’s patients.
The device uses a sensor-based shoe insole in combination with a smartphone application to help patients reintegrate correct walking patterns into their everyday life and receive customized training suggestions.
Team Babycer, from Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, won the People’s Choice. The award is sponsored by Outreach and International Affairs, Virginia Tech, and the winner is selected by vote of the event attendees.
Catalina Musalem, Claudia Concha, Arthur Guimaraes, Felipe Hevia, and Matías Martínez presented their concept for a device to help a mother breastfeed her child with special needs.
“This competition brings together enterprising teams from all over the world to network with one another, experience different cultures, and celebrate the global importance of business and entrepreneurship,” said Derick Maggard, executive director of the Apex Center for Entrepreneurs, which hosted the challenge.
“All finalists showed incredible potential and represented their countries and universities well. It’s exciting to watch these young entrepreneurs progress with their ideas and businesses as they grow and create value in the marketplace,” Maggard said.
The competition finals on Aug. 23 were part of a celebration of student entrepreneurship. The day concluded with an awards banquet and flag presentation ceremony at the German Club in Blacksburg, where are all teams were recognized for their contributions to the global economy.
The challenge was sponsored by Accenture, Virginia Tech Outreach and International Affairs, The Branch Group, VPT, Brown Edwards, Carilion Clinic, City of Roanoke, G.J. Hopkins, Montgomery County Department of Economic Development, Plastics One, Rackspace, Shentel, SMBW, SunTrust Banks, Third Security, Town of Blacksburg, Union Bank & Trust, Virginia Tech Office of the Vice President for Research and Innovation,and Wordsprint Marketing Services.