The Fall 2020 Innovation Challenge is part of an ideation competition series. The goal of the Innovation Challenge program is to foster real-life solutions to specific challenges in our communities. During the challenge, students and teams use their creativity to develop an innovative product, service, or program and present their ideas to be judged by a panel of innovative and entrepreneurial experts. This Fall's challenge was open content.
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**We are currently accepting Spring 2021 Innovation Challenge applications!!For more information, visit the Spring Innovation Challenge page.
LeRhonda Triplett, a senior Business Management student, considers herself “an advocate for having fun, especially when it positively impacts the community.” This is evident in her passion project and new company, Where’s the Party (WTP), winning first place in the Fall 2020 Innovation Challenge.
The concept of WTP initially started out as a party finder app that allows individuals to search, host, attend, and promote virtual or physical events in real-time. Due to the in-person restrictions of COVID-19, LeRhonda quickly realized there was a need to also include an Event Management service, specializing in Virtual Event Planning. “Our goal for WTP is to revolutionize event planning and social events, providing a unique customer experience that will connect people worldwide. I am confident that we are well on our way to completing this goal.”
Chris Carson is a Business Management and Organizations major and took his first entrepreneurship class in Fall, 2020. “I've never really thought about creating a start-up, but the pandemic greatly inspired this idea,” Chris noted how the continuing pandemic has had devastating effects on the emotional and education needs of students. “I truly believe that Virtual Reality (VR) software could help fill the void of human interaction, motivation, and even combat the growing mental health problems associated with distance learning.”
One of the biggest issues associated with VR is the cost, especially in terms of software and headsets. Chris’s innovation looked at developing an educational virtual reality software program which uses more affordable, carboard VR headsets. His goal is to collaborate with industry professionals to create a solution to meet the needs of students, especially low income or those that feel disenfranchised.
Pedro Hernandez, a Management Entrepreneurship major, was searching for a roommate and realized that the available options were far from reliable, specific or safe. “After exhaustingly trying to look for a roommate through websites, school clubs, and personal social media accounts, I realized that none of these routes would lead us to find a roommate with the qualities we were looking for such as attending the same school and sharing the same interests”. It was important to Pedro to create an app that also had security measures added in like profile verification and a video calling feature. With COVID-19 restrictions, the video feature will allow everyone to meet and the potential roommate to see the space while staying socially distant.
Being able to offer a reliable platform for college students to use is a great asset for those who need help paying rent. “Full time students with part time jobs cannot usually live in an apartment by themselves and this will give users hope of safely finding like-minded roommates with similar interests and hobbies.”