2020 Idea Challenge Kick-Off and Idea Hack

On January 29, 2020, we held our 2020 Rist DifferenceMaker Idea Challenge Kick-Off and Idea Hack at the Saab Center, Perry Atrium from 5:30 – 7 p.m. It was a very eventful night! The space was a full house filled with students, faculty, and mentors.

The event started off with food and networking. Students and faculty were able to speak with one another about their project ideas, catch up with how their semesters are, and meet new people.

Full crowd of students and faculty for the evening!

Holly Butler, Entrepreneurial Initiatives Program Director, and Steven Tello, Vice Provost, then gave opening remarks to the crowd. They explained the history & process of being a DifferenceMaker, explained the plan of events for the evening, and provided reminders to apply for the Idea Challenge and to join us at the DCU/Manning School of Business Final Competition coming up soon.

Afterwards, real-life DifferenceMaker Teams sat in a panel and answered questions that were moderated by Holly Butler, Entrepreneurial Initiatives Program Director. They spoke about how and why they got involved with DifferenceMaker, how the various workshops & mentors have helped them, and the status their startup projects currently are at. The featured teams who spoke were:

Benji Ball, 2019 Rist Campus-wide DifferenceMaker, Edward Morante, English and Education.

Ambulatory Innovations (formerly known as the CAT MAT), 2019 Honorable Mention, Katie Muise, Health Sciences.

Re-Vive, 2019 Honorable Mention, Alison Mitchell, Engineering.

From left to right, Holly Butler, Moderator. Benji Ball, Edward Morante. Re-Vive, Alison Mitchell. Ambulatory Innovations, Katie Muse.

Ha Pho, Entrepreneurial Initiatives Program Manager, led the Idea Hack activity and discussion. Students wrote the ideas they had on the top of their mind on white paddle boards, and shared them to the crowd. Then, students and faculty worked in teams to solidify the ideas that the students shared earlier.

Ha Pho, Entrepreneurial Initiatives Program Manager, explaining the Idea Hack activity to the crowd.

After the ideas were solidified, one student representative from each team shared their idea to the crowd. This activity gave the students an opportunity to practice their pitching skills and allowed them to get feedback for their ideas.

Student sharing her idea for a product that would help the process of putting on Indian saris a lot easier.

Thank you to everyone that attended! We hope that you learned something new about DifferenceMaker from this event!

Don’t forget to apply for the 2020 Rist DifferenceMaker $50k Idea Challenge! The deadline is on February 12th.

Interested in hearing student teams pitch? Join us at the DCU/Manning School of Business Innovation Finals this February 11th!

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DECA Pitches 2020

On January 7, 2020, four Rist DifferenceMaker® student teams pitched at DECA. This event took place at Durgin Hall on South Campus at UMass Lowell. DECA prepares emerging leaders and entrepreneurs for careers in marketing, finance, hospitality and management in high schools and colleges around the globe.

High school students from neighboring schools such as Nashoba Regional High School and Tyngsborough High School, visited the UMass Lowell Campus to pitch their own entrepreneurial start-up projects that they have been working on for months. During the interlude period while the judges were tallying their votes, our Rist DifferenceMaker Teams pitched their current start-up projects and companies.

Mass Heartbeat, 2018 DifferenceMaker Idea Challenge, Contribution to a Healthier Lifestyle winner; a $4,500 prize.

The four RIST DifferenceMaker teams that pitched were:

ETRA Lock – 2018 DifferenceMaker Idea Challenge, Honorable Mention; a $2,000 prize. ETRA Lock is a RFID device that allow users, mainly individuals with physical limitations, to autonomously lock and unlock their doors by proximity.

Mass Heartbeat –   2018 DifferenceMaker Idea Challenge, Contribution to a Healthier Lifestyle winner; a $4,500 prize. Mass Heartbeat conducts heart screenings that detect underlying conditions that people may not be aware of, and is brought in an affordable manner to schools across Massachusetts

RE-VIVE – 2019 DifferenceMaker Idea Challenge, Honorable Mention; a $2,000 prize. RE-VIVE is a wearable auto-injection system to administer Naloxone to those suffering from a drug overdose.

VotED – 2019 DifferenceMaker Idea Challenge winner, Significant Social Impact winner; a $4,500 prize. VotED is a voter education app that makes learning about current politics simple, fast, and easy.

After all the teams pitched their start-ups, the young entrepreneurs in the audience were asked to vote for their favorite teams using PollEverywhere on their phones. Mass Heartbeat won first place with a top prize of $600, RE-VIVE came in second with a prize of $450, VotED won third and received $250, and ETRALock came in fourth place with a prize of $150.

Final results of the poll!

Congratulations to all teams that pitched! Congratulations to all students that participated in DECA and pitched their own projects earlier that day!

From left to right, Entrepreneurial Initiatives Project Manager Ha Pho, Olivia Reposa, Michael Dignan from VotED, Alison Michell & Nicholas Lydon from RE-VIVE, Pat Cusanelli & Shane Lavoie from MassHeartbeat, Edwin Taveras from ETRA Lock.
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