NDSU Students Showcase Business Skills at Annual Innovation Challenge

The competition is in the semifinals, but one team walked away with a $1,000 prize

FARGO, N.D. —¬†With ideas ranging from 3D printed prosthetics for pets to helmets designed to prevent concussions, students put their minds to the test as part of the ninth annual Innovation Challenge.

Even though the competition is only in the semifinals, the public has a chance to see the brightest innovations from the labs of NDSU.

“Students get a chance to pitch their idea to people they don’t know and ask for feedback and maybe make some connections that could help them advance their idea,” said Chuck Hoge, the Executive Director of the NDSU Research and Technology Park.

As people went around to talk to the students, they also cast their vote to determine the winner of the $1,000 Dr. Wells People’s Choice Award, named in honor of late NDSU Professor David Wells.

“He was a true champion not only for NDSU students but also for entrepreneurship in the area. He was the consummate cheerleader and champion,” said Hoge.

Forty groups presented at the Innovation Challenge and some had to balance multiple projects in order to wow the judges.

“It’s really exciting to be able to showcase what we do while at school and what our passions are and also be able to use the resources that the Innovation program gives us, so this helps me with my thesis, my thesis helps me with this, so it’s really beneficial for me,” said Sara Biesterfeld, a graduate student in the NDSU Architecture program.

Some students, like graduate student Shri Joshi, did multiple presentations for the judges. The participants learned a lot about the entrepreneurial process.

“The judges are really tough, they ask difficult questions from the market point of view, from the cost point of view, and the stakeholder point of view,” said Joshi.

The finalists for the ninth annual Innovation Challenge will be selected on Friday.

Final oral presentations are set for April 5.

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