Demo Day 2019

On Monday, July 15 2019, the 2019 DifferenceMaker® Idea Challenge winning teams gathered in the UMass Lowell Innovation Hub to pitch their new and improved ideas since advancing through the summer Boot Camp. The audience consisted of alumni, faculty, staff, community friends, and interested mentors and advisors. The goal of Demo Day is to advance teams’ progress with the help and guidance of mentors.

Ha Pho, Entrepreneurial Initiatives Project Manager giving an introduction before the student presentations begin.

During Demo Day, students and mentors got to network with one another and each other. Student teams also pitched their ideas to everyone. In their pitches, they explained their business plans, potential customers, and impact that their product or service would have. There was an Q&A session after each pitch and more networking to end the exciting evening.

Stephen Wahome and Nicholas Bedard, founders of JamFuze getting feedback from Manning School of Business Professor, Deborah Finch.

One of the student teams, USe Cart, presenting their project before receiving feedback.

To learn more, please take a moment to watch a short video about Demo Day here.

Thank you to everyone that attended! The event would not have been so successful without the support of so many individuals. We hope to see you again next year!

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Boot Camp 2019

Throughout the month of June, the 2019 DifferenceMaker Idea Challenge winning teams participated in a 4-session summer Boot Camp to learn how to bring their product or service closer to market, develop their business models, and discover more about their customers.

Professor Deb Finch mentoring team USe Cart and giving them feedback and advice about their business plan.

Throughout these Boot Camp sessions, student teams learned about starting a business/non-profit. Before each session, videos about various topics, such as, building a start-up and customer discovery were provided. The sessions themselves allowed the teams to achieve a better understanding of who their customer segments are and gave them the opportunity to develop and test their business models and roadmap for their products.

The Business Model Canvas was used to further develop and understand their business.

The Boot Camp sessions allowed students to receive mentoring from previous DifferenceMaker teams and UMass Lowell faculty advisors. Homework was given each week and teams presented their discoveries in a pitch format, allowing them to receive immediate feedback from the Boot Camp mentors.

These mentors provided the students with advice on how they pitched, recommended people they could network with for guidance, and cleared up any issues on the products or services that might’ve come up in the future. The students asked them many questions, and received answers with many different opinions.

From left to right: Rajia Abdelaziz, co-founder and CEO of InvisaWear
Jonathan De Alderete, co-founder and CEO of NonSpec
Deborah Finch, UML Manning School of Business Professor
Brent Shell, UML Zuckerburg College of Health Sciences Professor and DifferenceMaker Faculty Fellow


All of these Boot Camp sessions helped the student teams prepare for Demo Day; an event that allows the teams to network, pitch their new and improved ideas, and talk to more mentors. Demo Day was on July 15th, 2019. Feel free to watch a video of Demo Day here.

The 2019 Idea Challenge winning team, Benji Ball, presenting their business model plan.

In addition to the Boot Camp advisors, we would also like to thank the Boot Camp guest speakers and mentors:

Richard Juknavorian

  • UML alumni,’98 Zuckerbug College of Health Sciences
  • Vice President, Centene

Erin Keaney

David Kantaros

  • Partner, Foley & Lardner LLP, Co-Chair, Technology Industry Practice
  • Business Law, Ventura Capital/Private Equity Attorney
  • Idea Challenge sponsor

Rajnish Kaushik

  • Associate Director, Office of Technology Commercialization

Hunter Mack

  • UML Francis College of Engineering Professor
  • DifferenceMaker Faculty Fellow

Chris McKenna

  • UML alumni, ’89, Francis College of Engineering
  • Partner Foley & Lardner LLP, Co-Chair of Technology Industry Practice, Co-Chair of Electronics Practice Group
  • Intellectual Property Attorney
  • Idea Challenge sponsor

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RIST DifferenceMaker® INSTITUTE

The Rist Family donation is a significant step forward in the development and growth of the DifferenceMaker® Program. Through the Rist DifferenceMaker® Institute, we will increase the participation and recognition of UMass Lowell student innovation and creativity across the northeast and the country. We are very grateful to Kim and Brian Rist ’77, Manning School of Business, for this generous contribution, and for their past support of the program.

Kim and Brian Rist ’77, Manning School of Business

Thank you to Kim and Brian Rist for supporting the DifferenceMaker® Program and UMass Lowell students in the following ways:

  • Establishment of the Rist DifferenceMaker® Graduate student fellowship.
  • Funding to support DifferenceMaker® student team participation in regional and national competitions.
  • Naming of the Rist Campus-wide DifferenceMaker® award.
  • Support of the Rist DifferenceMaker® co-op student award.
Brian Rist ’77, Manning School of Business, being recognized at the 2019 $50,000 Idea Challenge.
  • Brian Rist is the Founder, President, and CEO of Storm Smart Industries. He is also the President & CEO of Storm Smart’s parent company The Smart Companies.
  • Brian Rist is considered an expert in the field of innovative hurricane protection.
  • Since founding Storm Smart in 1996, Brian has dedicated his energies to customer service, product development, company growth and sustainability.
  • A Massachusetts native, he had the idea for hurricane protection after Hurricane Andrew in 1992 revealed how garage-door failures destroyed homes. Initially focused on helping homeowners protect their homes from storms, Storm Smart’s business jumped more than 300% after Hurricane Charley struck the Gulf Coast in 2004.
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2019 $50,000 Idea Challenge

On Wednesday, April 24, from 5 p.m. – 8:30 p.m., we held our 7th annual $50,000 Idea Challenge in Moloney Hall, University Crossing.  As people began to arrive they had a chance to vote for one of our nine semi-finalist teams to win the Fan Favorite award.  There was great turnout of faculty, professors, students, and others to see our ten finalist teams pitch-off for a chance to win a piece of the $50,000!

Congratulations to all of our winning teams!

Fan Favorite – $1,000

Bar Scene- Thomas Kiley, Senior, Computer Science; Hannah Wright, Alumni, Marketing and Entrepreneurship; & Owen Hunter, Senior, Finance.

“The Bar Scene app will act as a one-stop shop for nightlife information in Lowell, including prices, events, and how crowded each bar is in real time.”

Honorable Mentions – $2,000

EV Smart (EV 2 EV)- Omkar Bhandakkar, Alumni, Energy Engineering; Hamza Ehsan, Junior, Computer Science; & Rajvi Shah, Senior, Computer Science. 

“We want to solve the problem of EV owners worrying about range and charging. By creating an app to connect nearby EV owners with people in need of charging we solve exactly that. With the hardware in place for Vehicle-2-vehicle communications as well we can have short range and long range communications either between mobile phones and users or cars between cars.”

OTDSEES (Over Terrain Tactical Scuba Personnel Delivery Device)- Ian Ramsdell, Senior, BA. 

“As a scuba diver here in New England it is always a challenge to haul your gear over the extremely uneven terrain that is associated with the best dive sites. This also keeps a lot of disabled divers from being able to enjoy a sport that they love. For a disabled scuba diver, this terrain makes it even more of a challenge. I have developed a device that would either assist the diver by moving the diver’s gear to the water or even move a disabled diver to the water or even into the water.”

Projected Pin/ ATM Fast App- Conrad Nelson, Junior, Chemical Engineering; Jenna Olander, Senior, Art (BFA); Tatiana Tompkins, Sophomore, Business; & Mohammad Musawear, Freshman, Computer Engineering. 

“A faster and safer method to withdraw from an ATM that will save Americans and ATM companies millions of dollars per year.  Our method requires a minor integration to the ATM user interface that will help prevent potentially all card skimming and PIN theft that occurs at ATMs.”

RE-VIVE (NextStep)- Nicholas Lydon, Senior, Chemical Engineering (BSE); Allison Michell, Senior, Chemical Engineering (BSE); & Derek Jamieson, Freshman, Undeclared. 

“This project aims to address the opioid epidemic by preventing fatal overdose. The project consists of a wearable auto-injection system to administer Naloxone to those suffering from a drug overdose. This will help decrease the number of fatal overdoses that tragically occur, and hopefully combat the overall epidemic.”

The CAT Mat (Outside In – An outdoor simulation mat)- Michelle Mailloux, Graduate, Physical Therapy; & Katherine Muise, Graduate, Physical Therapy. 

“Our product is a mat that will allow physical therapists to treat their patients’ deficits throughout the body, from the musculoskeletal system to sensory systems. It will simulate walking outdoors to help patients prepare for community ambulation. Our mat will have a sturdy structure underneath that allows it to be slip-free and be buildable. The pieces will be sized so that they can fit in parallel bars, making them usable to even the most dependent of patients. It will be a great alternative to walking outside when an outdoor environment is not suitable for a patient.”

Contribution to a Healthier Lifestyle – $4,500

ECG for Me (Electro Cardio Athletic Patch)- Rachel Harrington, Graduate, Biotechnology; Taylor Mellen, Graduate, Biotechnology; & William Bizilj, Graduate, Biotechnology. 

“Design wireless electro cardio patches that work with the Apple Series 4 watch to display an ECG capable of detecting underlying heart conditions.”

Jack. M. Wilson First Product to Market Award – $4,500

Jamfuze (Music Web Platform)- Stephen Wahome, Alumni, MBA; Christopher Sinclair, Junior, BBA; Michael Adrien, Senior, Sound Recording Technology (BM). 

“We are aiming to create a music website/market place connects local artist with the services they need to build and accelerate their music careers. These services will range from finding local studios, engineers, videographers, beats, and much more. The key is eliminating the search cost for these artists by providing a one stop shop platform.”

Sutherland Innovative Technology Solution – $4,500

USe Cart- Max Ushakov, Graduate, Electrical Engineering; Daniel Falcone, Senior, Business; Moya Alhayek, Junior, Electrical Engineering; & Shanice Kelly, Junior, Mechanical Engineering. 

“The future shopping cart that makes the shopping faster, easier for customers, pushing the self-checking to the new level. The smart shopping cart will create the better experience of doing your grocery, and it will reduce the time that you spend in a store. Technology inside will help a customer to navigate through the piles and have a shopping list on a screen connected to theirs accounts.  Let’s make the future of shopping enjoyable.”

Significant Social Impact – $4,500

VotED- from Middlesex Community College: Michael Dignan, Sophomore, Business Administration; Gillian Inglis, Sophomore, Business Administration; & Olivia Reposa, Sophomore, Business Administration.

 “A voting education app.  It informs voters about what is on their ballot in the upcoming election and will notify them when there is an upcoming election.  They can also decide if they want to learn about town meeting and other political events in their town.”

Rist Campus-wide DifferenceMaker – $6,000

Benji Ball- Benjamin McEvoy, Sophomore, Business; Gavin Donohue, Sophomore, Engineering; Tristan Naboicheck, Freshman, English; & Edward Morante, Sophomore, Education. 

“This is a Baseball training tool that will be composed of a bat and ball with the ball having multiple sides, each side showing the different outcome of an at bat. The bat has a bigger barrel since this game/training tool is designed for children and special needs kids to be able to learn the game of baseball in a fun and simplistic way. I already have the first prototype made from a manufacturer in China.”

We would like to extend a special thanks to all of our judges for doing an amazing job!

  • Jim Barry ’88, Kennedy College of Sciences, President and CEO of InspireMD, Inc.
  • Lorna Boucher ’86, Manning School of Business, Chief Marketing Officer of Instinet
  • Mary Burns ’84, College of Fine Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences, Principal of Splash Media Group Boston, LLC
  • Jim Regan ’88, Manning School of Business, President and CEO of Digital Federal Credit Union
  • Brian Rist ’77, Manning School of Business, President and CEO of The Smart Companies
  • Mark Saab ’81, ’13 (H), Francis College of Engineering, Chief Technology Officer of Vention Medical
  • Jack M. Wilson, President Emeritus UMass System and Distinguished Professor of Higher Education, Emerging Technologies, and Innovation at UMass Lowell

Also, a huge thank you to all of our sponsors for supporting the DifferenceMaker program over the years and helping us get to where we are today!

  • Circle Health
  • Jim Dandeneau ‘80
  • Joseph C. Day Chancellors’ Fund 
  • Digital Federal Credit Union
  • Foley and Lardner, LLP
  • Joseph P. Donahue ‘13 (H) Charitable Foundation
  • Nancy L. Donahue Endowed Fellowship in Values and Ethics
  • Enterprise Bank
  • Mitchell Kertzman ‘96 (H) Endowed Discretionary Fund
  • Robert J. Manning ‘84 Endowment Fund (Robert and Donna Manning)
  • Francis L. McKone ‘56 ‘00 (H) Chancellor’s Discretionary Endowment Fund
  • Glenn Morgan ‘86
  • Pernick Chancellor’s Endowed Discretionary Fund
  • James Regan ‘88
  • Brian Rist ‘77, Manning School of Business
  • Spinola Angel Investment Fund for Entrepreneurship
  • Andrew Sutherland ’94
  • Jack Wilson Endowed Presidential Entrepreneurship Award Fund
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2019 Preliminary Pitch-Off

On Wednesday, April 10, we held our 2019 DifferenceMaker Preliminary Pitch-off at O’Leary Library on South Campus.  This year 33 student teams got the opportunity to pitch their ideas to our panels of guest judges.  To end our event, the ten finalist teams were announced and will be competing on April 24th in our 2019 Idea Challenge for a chance to win $50,000!

Congratulations to our ten finalist teams!

Benji Ball- Benjamin McEvoy, Sophomore, Business; Gavin Donohue, Sophomore, Engineering; Tristan Naboicheck, Freshman, English; & Edward Monrante, Sophomore, Education.  “This is a Baseball training tool that will be composed of a bat and ball with the ball having multiple sides, each side showing the different outcome of an at bat. The bat has a bigger barrel since this game/training tool is designed for children and special needs kids to be able to learn the game of baseball in a fun and simplistic way. I already have the first prototype made from a manufacturer in China.”

ECG for Me (Electro Cardio Athletic Patch)- Rachel Harrington, Graduate, Biotechnology; Taylor Mellen, Graduate, Biotechnology; & William Bizilj, Graduate, Biotechnology.  “Design wireless electro cardio patches that work with the Apple Series 4 watch to display an ECG capable of detecting underlying heart conditions.”

EV Smart (EV 2 EV)- Omkar Bhandakkar, Alumni, Energy Engineering; Hamza Ehsan, Junior, Computer Science; & Rajvi Shah, Senior, Computer Science.  “We want to solve the problem of EV owners worrying about range and charging. By creating an app to connect nearby EV owners with people in need of charging we solve exactly that. With the hardware in place for Vehicle-2-vehicle communications as well we can have short range and long range communications either between mobile phones and users or cars between cars.”

Jamfuze (Music Web Platform)- Stephen Wahome, Alumni, MBA; Christopher Sinclair, Junior, BBA; Michael Adrien, Senior, Sound Recording Technology (BM).  “We are aiming to create a music website/market place connects local artist with the services they need to build and accelerate their music careers. These services will range from finding local studios, engineers, videographers, beats, and much more. The key is eliminating the search cost for these artists by providing a one stop shop platform.”

OTDSEES (Over Terrain Tactical Scuba Personnel Delivery Device)- Ian Ramsdell, Senior, BA.  “As a scuba diver here in New England it is always a challenge to haul your gear over the extremely uneven terrain that is associated with the best dive sites. This also keeps a lot of disabled divers from being able to enjoy a sport that they love. For a disabled scuba diver, this terrain makes it even more of a challenge. I have developed a device that would either assist the diver by moving the diver’s gear to the water or even move a disabled diver to the water or even into the water.”

Projected Pin/ ATM Fast App- Conrad Nelson, Junior, Chemical Engineering; Jenna Olander, Senior, Art (BFA); Tatiana Tompkin, Sophomore, Business; & Mohammad Musawear, Freshman, Computer Engineering.  “A faster and safer method to withdraw from an ATM that will save Americans and ATM companies millions of dollars per year.  Our method requires a minor integration to the ATM user interface that will help prevent potentially all card skimming and PIN theft that occurs at ATMs.”

RE-VIVE (NextStep)- Nicholas Lydon, Senior, Chemical Engineering (BSE); Allison Michell, Senior, Chemical Engineering (BSE); & Derek Jamieson, Freshman, Undeclared.  “This project aims to address the opioid epidemic by preventing fatal overdose. The project consists of a wearable auto-injection system to administer Naloxone to those suffering from a drug overdose. This will help decrease the number of fatal overdoses that tragically occur, and hopefully combat the overall epidemic.”

The CAT Mat (Outside In – An outdoor simulation mat)- Michelle Mailloux, Graduate, Physical Therapy; & Katherine Muise, Graduate, Physical Therapy.  “Our product is a mat that will allow physical therapists to treat their patients’ deficits throughout the body, from the musculoskeletal system to sensory systems. It will simulate walking outdoors to help patients prepare for community ambulation. Our mat will have a sturdy structure underneath that allows it to be slip-free and be buildable. The pieces will be sized so that they can fit in parallel bars, making them usable to even the most dependent of patients. It will be a great alternative to walking outside when an outdoor environment is not suitable for a patient.”

USe Cart- Max Ushakov, Graduate, Electrical Engineering; Daniel Falcone, Senior, Business; Moya Alhayek, Junior, Electrical Engineering; & Shanice Kelly, Junior, Mechanical Engineering.  “The future shopping cart that makes the shopping faster, easier for customers, pushing the self-checking to the new level. The smart shopping cart will create the better experience of doing your grocery, and it will reduce the time that you spend in a store. Technology inside will help a customer to navigate through the piles and have a shopping list on a screen connected to theirs accounts.  Let’s make the future of shopping enjoyable.”

VotED- from Middlesex Community College: Michael Dignan, Sophomore, Business Administration; Gillian Inglis, Sophomore, Business Administration; & Olivia Reposa, Sophomore, Business Administration.  “A voting education app.  It informs voters about what is on their ballot in the upcoming election and will notify them when there is an upcoming election.  They can also decide if they want to learn about town meeting and other political events in their town.”

We would also like to extend a special thanks to our guest judges:

Jack Abrams ’74 Kennedy College of Sciences; Lisa Alloca ’87 ’91 Manning School of Business; Janet Benvenuti ’77 ’82 Kennedy College of Sciences; Janet Dellea ’84 Manning School of Business; Susan De Mari ’98 ’00 College of Fine Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences; Matthew Donahue; Earle Durham; Bill Estes ’87 Francis College of Engineering; Steven Geyster ’83 Francis College of Engineering; John Grayson ’87 Francis College of Engineering; Richard Juknavorian ’98 Zuckerberg College of Health Sciences; Sarah LaLiberte ’06 Manning School of Business; Jay Lang ’00 ’15 College of Education; Brenda Maille ’78 ’78 Kennedy Colleges of Sciences and College of Fine Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences; Diane Maltais; Glenn Morgan ’86 College of Fine Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences; Mahati Mukkamala ’09 Manning School of Business; John Norden ’80 College of Fine Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences; Michael Rider ’87 Francis College of Engineering; Richard Rossetti ’83 Francis College of Engineering; Raymond Southworth ’81 College of Fine Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences; Andrew Sutherland ’94 Manning School of Business; Chet Szablak; Joseph Vaillancourt ’90 ’01 Manning School of Business; Mark Yates ’80 ’81 Francis College of Engineering; and Bill Yelle ’85 Kennedy College of Sciences.

Lastly, we would like to thank our guest speaker, Tyler Cote from Operation250, for sharing his experiences and success since joining the DifferenceMaker Program!

Don’t forget to stop by our 2019 $50k Idea Challenge on April 24th from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. in Moloney Hall to see our finalists pitch their ideas!

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Workshop 4: Delivering Your Rocket Pitch

Workshop 4: Delivering Your Rocket Pitch was held on Wednesday, February 27th, in Lydon Library. As over 30 students arrived, they made their way over to serve themselves fresh salad and a delicious lasagna dinner.

Professor Michelle Veilleux, DifferenceMaker Faculty Fellow in Fine Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, and Professor Michael Ciuchta, Faculty Fellow in the Manning School of Business, led our fourth workshop with a focus on how teams should properly and effectively pitch their ideas to the judges at the upcoming Preliminary Pitch-off and Idea Challenge. Professor Veilleux and Professor Ciuchta emphasized the importance of clearly stating the problem, opportunity, and value of each teams’ solutions. Students were even shown videos of DifferenceMaker teams’ pitches at past years’ Idea Challenges and were able to work together to analyze what each team did well and what they could have improved on.

To end the night one brave team volunteered to practice their pitch to the rest of the audience. After the pitch, the audience was able to give valuable feedback and ask questions that may be brought up by the panel of judges!

We would like to thank all the students, faculty, and speakers who made our 2019 Workshop Series fun, engaging, and very informative! We hope that everyone learned some valuable information and advice for the upcoming Idea Plan, which is due on March 4th!

Please join us at our upcoming competitions!

 

Preliminary Pitch-off:

April 4, 5- 6p.m.

O’Leary Library, Mezzanine, South Campus

$50,000 Idea Challenge:

April 25, 5- 8:30 p.m.

University Crossing, Moloney Hall

 

 

 

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Workshop 3: Developing Business Models

On Monday, February 25th, we held the third part of our Workshop Series, Developing Business Models. As over 45 students arrived, they made their way over to the baked potato bar to serve themselves some delicious baked potatoes with a variety of different toppings.

Innovation Initiatives Senior Director, Tom O’Donnell, and Professor Hunter Mack the DifferenceMaker® Faculty Fellow from the Francis College of Engineering, led this workshop. As they helped guide student teams through developing their business models, they often gave examples of companies whose business models failed due to their lack of research in a certain area.

To end the night, student teams worked together to develop their own business model by first determining many of the key factors that must be considered before finalizing any business model.

Thank you to everyone who joined us and made Workshop 3 our best turnout yet! We hope to see everyone at the final part of our Workshop Series, Delivering Your Rocket Pitch, which will be held Wednesday, February 27th, at 5:30 in Lydon Library room 110! Come hungry – dinner will be served!

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Workshop 2: Assessing Opportunities and Value Proposition

The second event in our Workshop Series was held Thursday, February 21st, from 5:30PM to 7:30PM in Lydon Library Room 110. This workshop was focused on Assessing Opportunities and Value Proposition. As over 30 students arrived, some delicious fajitas were being served.

The night began with Faculty Fellow, Professor Brent Shell, from the Zuckerberg College of Health Sciences, presenting about what “Assessing Opportunities” really means. He stressed to the students that there is a market for practically everything, but the question is if there is an opportunity or a need within that market.

To finish of the night, Faculty Fellow, Professor Neil Shortland, from the College of Fine Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, presented about the importance of value in a product or service provided. Both Professors kept it a very fun and engaging night, often asking questions and opening the floor to DifferenceMaker® student teams to share how their product and service ideas can bring value to the consumer.

We would like to thank everyone who made it to Workshop 2 and we hope to see you all at our final two workshops:

Developing Business Models: Monday, Feb. 25th

Delivering Your Rocket Pitch: Wednesday, Feb. 27th

 All workshops will be held in Lydon Library, Room 110, North Campus from 5:30 – 7:30PM!

 Dinner is served at each workshop, so please come hungry!

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Workshop 1: Identifying Problems

We kicked-off our Workshop Series Tuesday evening, Feb. 19, 2019, in Lydon Library, Room 110 with Identifying Problems! Over 40 students and faculty arrived at 5:30PM to engage in Workshop 1. Fresh salad, pizza, chips and cookies were served. Entrepreneurial Initiatives Program Director, Holly Butler, began the night by introducing our guest speakers and giving a brief overview of the DifferenceMaker Workshop Series.

Guest speakers, Professors Iman Chahine and Mazen El Ghaziri, led the workshop and described the questions that needed to be answered in order to identify the significance of each team’s problem. After the presentation, students broke off into new or existing teams to brainstorm problems they were passionate about solving. Students were able to work together and come up with some great problems that needed to be dealt with, ranging from children with disabilities to safe medication disposal systems. By the end of the night, students had created or joined teams, found out the significance of their problem, and gained an understanding of what steps to take next in order to move on with their projects.

We want to thank everyone who came out and shared your amazing ideas with us!

We hope to see even more students at the remainder of our Workshop Series:

Assessing Opportunities and Value Proposition: Thursday, Feb. 21st

 Developing Business Models: Monday, Feb. 25th

Delivering Your Rocket Pitch: Wednesday, Feb. 27th

 All workshops will be held in Lydon Library, Room 110, North Campus from 5:30 – 7:30PM!

 Dinner is served at each workshop, so please come hungry!

 Don’t forget to keep working hard to prepare for the $50,000 Idea Challenge!

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2019 Idea Challenge Kick-Off and Idea Hack

On Wednesday, January 30th, we began our spring semester with the 2019 Idea Challenge Kick-off and Idea Hack! This event was held from 5:30PM to 7PM in the Saab ETIC, Perry Atrium located on North Campus. As the students, professors, and mentors arrived, the night began with a variety of delicious foods and some networking. As over 90 students crowded into the atrium, Tom O’Donnell, Senior Director of Innovation Initiatives welcomed the audience by briefly introducing the DifferenceMaker® Program and providing his own experiences.

Shortly after, the Entrepreneurial Initiatives Program Director, Holly Butler, interviewed a panel of past DifferenceMaker Teams. The panel included Kierra Walsh from UML Green Roofs and Tyler Cote from Operation 250. They described their experiences with the DifferenceMaker Program, where it has gotten them today, and answered a few questions from the student audience.

To end the night, Ha Pho, Entrepreneurial Initiatives Program Manager led our Idea Hack Activity and Discussion. Students stood and explained their ideas for real world problems, involving Health and Wellness, Social Responsibility, and Mobile Applications. Then, others joined teams based on their interests of the ideas. Next, teams brainstormed and added to the ideas. Lastly, they presented their solutions to the audience.

We are extremely grateful for everyone who came Wednesday night to make the 2019 Idea Challenge Kick-off and Idea Hack an informative and engaging event! We hope to see many of the students pitch their ideas at our Idea Challenge event later this semester. Don’t forget, applications are due February 12th! Please apply today: www.uml.edu/differencemaker/ideachallengeapp

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